O’Flynn could boost Harps’ attacking options

Alan Foley


Alan Foley

O’Flynn could boost Harps’ attacking options
FINN HARPS manager Peter Hutton confirmed Stephen O’Flynn has been training with his squad.

FINN HARPS manager Peter Hutton confirmed Stephen O’Flynn has been training with his squad.

A native of Mallow, Co Cork, the 30-year-old striker is now working in Derry and joined up with the Ballybofey side last week.

O’Flynn played last season for St Patrick’s Athletic and has a wealth of experience having also lined out for Cork City, Limerick, Derry City, Galway United and Northampton Town.

“Stephen O’Flynn is training with us as he’s relocated now back to Derry again,” Hutton said after Friday night’s 2-1 win over Wexford Youths in the FAI Cup second round.

“He’s been in last week and he can get a look at us and we can get a look at him. If he was to come he would bring Premier Division experience. He’s been around and he knows how to do it and has the experience. He has a lot of good attributes.

“But there’s nothing definite or set in stone. We’ve not even discussed it as yet. It’s just training yet. He’s not training with anyone else. He’s been in the gym on his own and he’s delighted to be training with us.”

Hutton was in upbeat mood after seeing his team progress to the third round of the cup thanks to goals from Keith Cowan and a penalty from Sean McCarron.

Central defender Cowan opened the scoring on 55 minutes when he prodded past Wexford following a free-kick from Gary Merritt.

“Great result,” Hutton said when asked to assess what he had just witnessed. “We thoroughly deserved it in the end. It was a game of two halves.

“In the first half we were fairly poor, although we started well before letting Wexford dictate the play. We changed a few things at half-time and improved vastly in the second.

“In terms of how Wexford were set up, we didn’t adapt to them. Afterwards, we had a better shape.

“It was a great delivery from Gary. He can give you that. We just spoke before the game that we need to contribute more goals from all over the park. I spoke to the back four about making things happen from set piece situations.”

Harps thought they had a penalty when match referee Ray Matthews pointed to the spot on 71 minutes, penalising James Dermody for handball.

However, after consulting with his assistant, Declan Toland, changed his mind in regards the award and instead gave Harps a free-kick on the right of the penalty area.

Nine minutes later, though, Matthews did award a penalty when Paul McVeigh was pulled down by Shane Nolan. McCarron, with his fifth goal in five league matches, made no mistake from 12 yards.

“There was a dubious decision just beforehand, where a lot of Harps players thought there was a handball definitely inside the box,” Hutton said of the first incident.

“But the second one was a good reward for Paul’s endeavour. He worked his socks off, whether playing up front or on the night.

“Sean is still only a cub at this stage of senior football and he’s still learning his trade at senior football, as they all have but we’re getting there – as they all do. But he’s on a good run.”

Michael Funston’s repositioning at the base of midfield for the second half was one of the main reasons for Harps’ win - some notable revenge having lost 2-1 to the same opposition in the First Division the previous Friday.

“It’s difficult to single anyone out after what was really an industrious second half,” Hutton said of his players.

“There wasn’t really one player who deserved it but Michael deserved man of the match for his high effort. In the second half he gave us a tremendous shape.

“We’re delighted to get it finished tonight. It’s an arduous trip alright. Even tonight, Wexford landed a bit late before the game as we did ourselves down there last week with some unforeseen traffic. It’s great just to be in the next round. Like everyone we just hope for a home draw, which will help finances too of course.

“We’re ticking along nicely. There’s still a lot of football to be played and there will always be twists and turns. Last week in Wexford was a bad night at the office, while this week we upped the ante. With such a young squad it’s hard to maintain consistency. They are learning and I’m delighted with their application this season.”