Paddy McCourt - an injury doubt for Friday night
Two weeks later than scheduled, Finn Harps will finally kick off their season this Friday night when they welcome Shelbourne to Finn Park (kick off 8pm).
A mixture of poor floodlights (in Drogheda) and the blanket cancellation of fixtures due to last week’s horrendous weather conditions in Dublin and surrounding counties, means Harps have yet to kick a ball in earnest in this campaign.
Harps boss, Ollie Horgan, chose his words carefully when asked about the possibility of his team finally seeing some competitive action.
“It’s been frustrating to say the least,” he said.
“To be honest, I’ve said my bit on this now. There’s no point in me saying any more. Whatever about calling off the Longford game last Friday night, they then went and postponed the League Cup match on Monday.
“But look, that’s gone now. Hopefully, please God, we’ll get going on Friday night and win, lose or draw, at least we’ll be up and running.”
To say it has been a calamitous start to the season for Harps would be an understatement. Horgan and his charges are now preparing for the visit of a Shelbourne team who have managed to play one game - losing their league opener against UCD 2-1.
Shelbourne, managed by former Bohemians boss, Owen Heary, have a squad which Horgan believes is probably the most experienced in the division.
“Will that mean they’ll win the league? I don’t know,” Horgan said.
“But they’ve got enough experience there to win it. Owen Heary has brought a few players to the club from his time at Bohs. Look at their back five, they’re all Premier Division players.”
Harps, Horgan accepts, have plenty of experience within their own ranks too. However, one of his more senior players, Paddy McCourt, is rated doubtful for Friday night because of injury, as are Ciaran Coll and Gareth Harkin. New signing, Eric Whelan will miss out after aggravating an old injury.
Harps played a behind-closed-doors friendly on Sunday and the manager said the players are now itching to get going this weekend.
He also backed a call from the club to supporters to come out and get behind the team this weekend.
“It would be nice to have a decent crowd for our first home match,” he said.
“Shelbourne will bring a good side. There’ll be a lot of quality on show in both teams, and the supporters have their part to play this season, starting this Friday night.”
Finn Harps are launching a draw aimed at businesses, with the winners getting their company logo on the back of the Harps shirts for the 2018 season.
Entry to the draw costs €100. Any businesses interested are asked to contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details of this draw or the other commercial packages available.