LEAGUE OF IRELAND

In-form Finn Harps travel to Shamrock Rovers

Harps manager happy with his team's start

Diarmaid Doherty

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Diarmaid Doherty

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sport@donegaldemocrat.com

In-form Finn Harps travel to Shamrock Rovers

He’s almost famous for his reluctance to focus on the positives when things are going well for his team.
So the fact that Ollie Horgan has admitted that he’s very happy with his team’s start to the season is a welcome approach.
Finn Harps’ win over Sligo Rovers on Saturday night might well have been fortuitous, but it extends what’s been a fine start to the new season.
Suddenly Harps are up to sixth place in the Premier Division with two wins, two draws and two defeats from their opening six games.
Their position in the top half of the table might only be short-term, but there’s no denying that Harps have taken many pundits by surprise by their recent run of four games unbeaten.
“I’m very happy with the start,” Horgan said this week.
“Probably the biggest disappointment so far was the manner of the defeat at Bray Wanderers in our second game of the season.
“We played well but gave away some bad goals. We scored three away from home but still lost.
“But look, we’ve done okay since and it’s good to have eight points on the board.”
He added: “We’ve got this difficult run of games coming up now so you don’t know what will happen over the coming weeks.”
That difficult run starts on Friday night with an away match against Shamrock Rovers. In the following three league games, Harps face the three D’s in Dundalk (h), Derry City (a) and Drogheda United (h).
In between they have their rescheduled EA Sports League Cup meeting with Cockhill Celtic at Finn Park next Monday night.
It’s a run of fixtures that will mean Horgan dipping into his first team squad a little more than he’s needed to up until now.
Damien McNulty will miss Friday night’s trip to Tallaght Stadium after hobbling off with what appeared to be a hamstring problem against Sligo Rovers last weekend.
Paddy McCourt is a major doubt after sustaining an injury in training last Thursday night. He missed the Sligo game and hasn’t trained since. Barry Molloy is closer to a return after sitting out last weekend’s game as well.
The injury concerns don’t end there. Ciaran Coll and Gareth Harkin have both been nursing knocks since the weekend and while they didn’t train on Monday night, they should be okay for tomorrow night.
Shamrock Rovers sit two points adrift of Harps with two wins and four defeats from their opening six games. The latest loss came on Saturday when they were beaten 2-1 by St. Pat’s at Richmond Park.
Rovers ended the game with ten men following the dismissal of Sean Heaney for two bookings and while he will be automatically suspended for tomorrow night, Horgan said Rovers have plenty of options for cover.
“Shamrock Rovers have so much quality in their squad, they could put out two different elevens and still be strong,” he said.
“They’ve a savage panel to pick from. I watched them against Cork City a few weeks ago and I was really impressed with them. They were very unlucky to lose that game.”
Harps failed to win any of their three league meetings with Shamrock Rovers last season, losing twice at home, but picking up a decent 1-1 draw at Tallaght Stadium in May.
Friday night's game kicks off at 8pm.