Finn Harps will begin their new season a week earlier than anticipated with confirmation that the opening round of games in their section in the EA Sports League Cup have been brought forward by a week.
Harps, who open their Airtricity Division One league campaign away to Waterford United on Friday night March 8th, will now face the Mayo League in the League Cup five days earlier on Sunday March 3rd at Milebush Park, Castlebar (2 p.m.)
This game was originally pencilled in for Monday, March 11th, three days after their League opener in Waterford.
“We requested the change of date and for the game to be brought forward by the week. We felt it was better than going to Waterford on Friday night, and then having to head to Mayo on the Monday,” explained Harps boss Peter Hutton.
“At least now we have five days between the games and besides it is a good competitive game before we head into the league and head to Waterford.”
Following last Friday night’s 2-0 friendly win over Dundalk, Harps continue the warm-up for the new season this weekend with a double round of fixtures.
They play Premier Division champions Sligo Rovers on Saturday night, at the Showgrounds in Sligo, kick-off 7.45 pm. On Sunday Peter Hutton takes his side to the Aura Centre, Letterkenny where Letterkenny Rovers provide the opposition (2pm).
“We are looking forward to the two games at the weekend and giving the squad a run out. We hope to give everyone in the squad a run out over the two games.
“Saturday night’s game is Sligo’s first at home of the new season and should be a good test for our lads. It is a great opportunity for them to test themselves against the best and they don’t come any better than the Premier champions.”
Hutton is hoping to have Tommy Bonner back from injury, but is planning without James Doherty and Aaron O’Hagan, both of whom are on the treatment table for an ankle and foot injury respectively.
Keith Cowan, away on a school trip, is also unavailable for the weekend.
Meanwhile, Ulster Senior League side Cockhill Celtic play Mervue United in the opening game of the new League of Ireland season when they meet in the EA Sports Cup on Saturday, March 2nd.
That game is in Fahy’s Field, Galway City, kick-off 4 pm.
Cockhill were invited into the competition after finishing runners-up to Derry City Reserves in the Ulster Senior League last season.
Derry’s senior side make-up the six-team group along with Harps, Cockhill, Mervue United, Sligo Rovers and the Mayo League.