Gallagher casts net to Ulster Senior League

Three Ulster Senior League players are currently undertaking pre-season training with Finn Harps with view to signing for the Ballybofey club.

Three Ulster Senior League players are currently undertaking pre-season training with Finn Harps with view to signing for the Ballybofey club.

Manager James Gallager will cast an eye over central defender Kieran Gorman of Letterkenny Rovers, Killea FC midfielder Neil Harkin and striker Garbhan Friel from Cockhill Celtic over the coming weeks to see if they can make the step-up to senior level.

"Kieran is a strong central defender that we have brought in with a view to signing and he wants to test himself at this level," Gallagher said. "We will see how he develops as we will with Neil, who was with Derry City and now wants to get back at it and both have something to offer.

"It's the same with Garbhan, who at 20 is the right age, and he is someone that I have watched three or four times and he impressed he with a good workrate and hunger. He could prove a good addition. For now, though, we will have a look at these players. Players here must have the appetite for the pre-season and fitness we require, as well as the football."

Gallagher is also continuing talks with players from outside of the club and although there is nothing concrete on that matter to report now, at least one of those targets is believed to be close to signing.

Harps returned to pre-season on Saturday and Sunday at Drumboe woods, as well as a session in Twin Towns Boxing Club with getting the players into shape the initial priority for the manager.

On Tuesday, they trained at Finn Valley Athletic Club and then went onto the boxing club again. After a similar session tonight, Thursday, Fanad United's Triaghalough will be used on Saturday.

"At the minute we are working on the players' fitness and the boxing club has proven to be an invaluable facility, where we can concentrate on core and overall strength. On Saturday, Fanad United have kindly given us the use of their pitch."

Harps' pre-season is being attended by the three newcomers as well as the bulk of last season's squad. Some of that panel have already re-signed for the club, while others, such as Chris Breen, Gary Whoriskey, Matthew Crossan, Keith Cowan and youngsters like Raymond Foy, Gary Merritt and Aaron O'Hagan are at pre-season and are expected to be part of the squad come the start of the new season in March.

One player that is not part of the manager's plans for the coming season is Davitt Walsh, who rejoined the club last season after initially impressing under the stewardship of Anthony Gorman in 2006.

"Davitt did well in patches for us last season and he's a likeable lad that had a frustrating season with injuries and sickness," Gallagher said. "That meant he wasn't at the level he could have been, as he was in and out of the team, and although he is capable he is not in my plans for the coming season."

Harps have confirmed they will play Derry City in a pre-season friendly at Finn Park on Sunday, February 6, at 3pm and there will also be a visit from the Northern Ireland international junior side, on Wednesday, February 23, at 7.45pm.

As well as that, the club are in discussion with both Newry City of the Irish League and FAI Cup winners Sligo Rovers with view to pre-season outings. Harps, like last year, are also expected to play friendlies against sides within the county.