Manager Ollie Horgan has this evening announced that goalkeeper Ciaran Gallagher has agreed terms to remain with Finn Harps for the 2019 Premier Division season while Raffaele Cretaro is moving to the Donegal club from North West neighbour Sligo Rovers.
Gallagher had a super season between the sticks as Harps plotted their way to promotion from the First Division via the play-offs. The 26-year-old kept 14 clean sheets during the league season and played in the first two play-off games against Drogheda Utd. Ciaran missed the final two play-off games against Limerick F.C. due to injury.
Horgan is happy that the Raphoe man has agreed terms and sees the keeper as a key figure in the bid to have a decent go in what is going to be a very tough Premier Division campaign for the Donegal outfit. “Ciaran was in great form last season and we’ll need that and more from him in the Premier Division. We’re going to be under far more pressure defensively so having Ciaran signed again is a big plus.”
Ciaran Gallagher made his debut for Finn Harps against Sporting Fingal at the Morton Stadium in April 2009, just two days after his 17th birthday. He came on as a second-half substitute for the injured Gavin Cullen in the 1-0 defeat. At the end of that season he signed a two-year contract extension.
Gallagher joined Derry City in the pre-season of 2014 but only made three appearances before rejoining Harps at the end of that year. He kept 17 clean sheets as Finn Harps were promoted to the Premier Division after overcoming UCD and Limerick in the play-offs. He re-signed for the 2017 campaign which ended with Harps being relegated back to the First Division. And Ciaran remained with Harps for the 2018 season making 28 league appearances and also featured in the first two play-off games against Drogheda Utd.
Gallagher made his 200th appearance for Harps in the Premier Division game against Bohemians in Ballybofey in July 2017. Only Gerry Murray has made more appearances as goalkeeper for Harps.
Ollie Horgan has also added the vastly experienced Raffaele Cretaro to the Harps squad. The forward is joining from near neighbours Sligo Rovers where he was a fans favourite over 17 season at the Showgrounds. The Tubbercurry native started his career at Sligo Rovers in 2000 and after five years moved to Galway United for a season. Raff returned to the Showgrounds in 2007 and two years later helped the Bit O’Red reach the FAI Cup final which ended in a disappointing loss to Sporting Fingal. However it was still very good campaign for Cretaro who found the back of the net 21 times in all competitions.
The 2010 season was spent with defending league champions Bohemians before going back to the Showgrounds. Raff won his first FAI Cup winners medal as Sligo defeated Shelbourne on penalties in the final. It was to be a fruitful three years on the trophy front as Rovers took the league title in 2012 and the following season there was another FAI Cup medal when Sligo defeated Drogheda United 3-2 at the Aviva Stadium. Cretaro has remained with the Bit O’Red since that 2013 success until the end of last season.
Horgan says Cretaro is a seasoned performer whose experience will be beneficial to the Harps squad in the top flight. “We’re happy to get Raff in as he is a forward with vast experience of the Premier Division. Competition for places in every part of the field is vital and Raff will give us that up front. He’s looking forward to a new challenge at Finn Park and please God his enthusiasm for the game and his knowledge of what it takes to put it up to the top teams will rub of on our younger players who have to learn quickly at this level.”