Ollie Horgan and Finn Harps have a dilemma ahead of tomorrow (Friday) night’s Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup tie with Dundalk in Oriel Park. (kick-off 7.45 pm)
Traditionalist may talk about the romance of the Cup and harbouring hopes of shocks and upsets. But when you are down in Division One of the SSE Airtricity and locked in a battle to win promotion there is nothing romantic about a trip to the home of the best team in the country.
“Look we’re not going to win the cup and we have to be realistic about it and certainly we are not going to Dundalk and beat the best team in the country when your focus is on the league and the promotion play-off,” said the Harps boss.
“We are in second place in the table and in a good position but we have a tough run in and three hard games left in the league and we have Shelbourne, Drogheda hot on our tail and Longford are not out of the reckoning either.
“There are three play-off places on offer. UCD have won the league and there are four of us behind and we are all chasing those three places.
“The higher up you end the easier you make it for yourself and at the end of a long season two games for promotion is far more appealing than three.
“If we hold onto second place we are faced with the prospect of two games to win promotion. The way it works is third play fourth with the winners playing the second team and the winner of that tie playing the team that ends up second from the bottom of the Premier table, for a place in the Premier Division next season.
“If we retain second spot we are in the two game scenario. But we have a tough run in; we have Galway United home, UCD away and Cabinteely at home in the last game.
“Galway are a full-time professional outfit; UCD are the runaway leaders of the division and have it won with a bit to spare. Cabinteely may be out of the reckoning but they’ve had a few good results in recent weeks. “They are going to finish up in a decent position in the table and they will be no slouches.
“So it is easy to see the dilemma we have facing Dundalk, the top team in the country, on home ground.
“Do we go all out and have a right good cut at it and maybe run the risk of picking up a few injuries and maybe end up without a player or two for the run in.
“But at the same time we want to respect the competition and our supporters who have been great. For those reasons we will be going to Dundalk with the intention of having a right good cut at it and we’ll see where that takes us.
“But we have also to be realistic. Dundalk are a serious, serious side. They are a big side and they will also have the edge on us physically. They are big physical side.
“Regardless how it ends up we will be switching our thoughts straight away to Galway the following weekend and the push for promotion.”
Horgan won’t find out until today (Thursday) if he will have defender Sam Todd for the trip to Oriel Park.
Todd, on loan from Derry City, may have to serve a one match ban while Mark Coyle and Ciaran Coll are both doubtful after picking up knocks last Friday night in Athlone.
Paddy McCourt made a surprise return to the subs bench for the Athlone game last weekend. But the Harps boss has ruled the Derry man out of the reckoning for tomorrow night’s game.