Harps entertain Limerick

Finn Harps have as close to a full deck as they have had all season when they welcome Limerick FC to Finn Park on Saturday.

Finn Harps have as close to a full deck as they have had all season when they welcome Limerick FC to Finn Park on Saturday.

There is a slight concern over the fitness of new recruit Gary Curran, who was forced the hobble off during his debut last week against Mervue United after only 56 minutes following an ankle knock. However, it was hoped the former Galway United midfielder would have taken part in training last night.

Harps A championship team enjoyed a fine 4-1 win against Sligo Rovers on Tuesday night at Finn Park and Tommy Bonner, who had been suffering a rib injury, came through, as did hamstring complaint Stephen O’Donnell.

Ciaran Coll played in the game and he is available again having missed last week’s 2-0 over Mervue through suspension, as did Gareth Harkin who also returns.

Therefore, the only absentees are the long-term injured, Packie Mailey, who broke a bone in his foot and visited a specialist on Tuesday, and Conor O’Grady, the midfielder who underwent ankle surgery and has begun rehabilitation.

Manager Peter Hutton hopes to have the former Sligo Rovers skipper available before the season’s conclusion. Aaron McElwee will be with the club until late August before making his way to north America to complete a soccer scholarship.

“We said last week we had plenty of options and thankfully that’s the case again this week,” Hutton said yesterday. “We’ll play it by ear with Gary and Tommy but hopefully we will have a decent size of a panel to choose from ahead of the game against Limerick.”

New signing Kevin Devaney was on the mark in that win over Mervue last weekend in Ballybofey and Blaine Curtis scribbled his name onto the scoresheet for the third time in two games, following his brace against Wexford Youths.

“Last week probably wasn’t one for the purists,” Hutton added. “But we had to dig deep and show discipline. Mervue are a decent side, one that is well organised and like to play on the break. We discovered that to our cost down there and took that on board. It wasn’t the most fluid but we delighted to take the chances when they came our way.

“It was pleasing to get another clean sheet on a night when it was always going to be awkward when we had so many new faces.

“That didn’t help in regards the overall performance, when people are trying to learn off their new partners in the various parts of the field. But that’s what we are trying to do, learn between now and the end of the season.”

Under the management of James Gallagher, Harps opened the season with a 2-2 draw at home to Limerick. Both sides ended the game with 10 men with Mark Forker and Stephen O’Flynn each receiving their marching orders. Pat Purcell scored the only goal of the game when Pat Scully’s team took all three points in May.

Limerick will have new signings Denis Behan, Joe Gamble, Rory Gaffney and Shaun Kelly from Killybegs on board, although former Harps striker Chris Breen is out with a shoulder injury.