DONEGAL SOCCER

Finn Harps to make St Patrick's Athletic game 50th anniversary special

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Finn Harps to make St Patrick's Athletic game 50th anniversary special

Finn Harps will round of the club’s 50th anniversary celebrations at the League of Ireland Premier Division game against St. Patrick’s Athletic on Friday week. 

On the 17th of August, 1969 Harps played their first ever senior competitive game against Shamrock Rovers at Finn Park. The Pat’s home game is closest date wise to that historic occasion in Ballybofey 50 years ago. Patsy McGowan was the manager that day. Now Ollie Horgan is the boss as he battles to keep Harps in top flight football for another season. 

It is hoped to have some of the players from that 1969 league opener as guests along with others who graced Finn Park over the following five decades. Plans are also afoot to produce a souvenir ticket for the Pat’s match and bring out a special anniversary programme for the occasion. Finn Harps Secretary John Campbell says the club is looking forward to rounding off the 50th celebrations with a match which will be very special for everyone with a love for a club which has had its ups and downs but has survived and now it’s the final run-in of the 2019 season as Ollie Horgan’s men aim to stay in the Premier Division. 

“We’re looking forward to marking the game against St. Patrick’s Athletic as the anniversary playing wise of our first ever game in the League of Ireland on the 17th of August 1969. The Pat’s home game is the closest date we could get to that game 50 years ago against Shamrock Rovers at Finn Park. It’s going to be a case of the past, the present and future all coming together to mark the anniversary. We’re working on getting some of the players from that 1969 side to be guests at the Pat’s match. The club is also looking at  producing a souvenir ticket for the game and also bringing out a special anniversary programme for the occasion. We’re also planning to have all our Academy squads parade on the night as well. The Curragh Athletic U10s will be the mascots welcoming the two teams on to the pitch” Mr Campbell said.

There’s just seven games left now for Harps in this year’s league fixtures schedule and only three of those are at home. Horgan’s outfit have only two matches in September as the other weekends in the month are set aside for the FAI Cup. There is no home gate income either in September as Harps travel to play Sligo Rovers on the 14th of September, followed six days later by a trip to Turners Cross to play Cork City. Harps have no league matches on the weekend of the 7th or 28th of September. There is no home game for Horgan’s side from Friday 30th of August against Pat’s to Friday 4th October when UCD are the visitors to Ballybofey.  That is a five-week gap.

John Campbell says the club, players and management team need a big support at Finn Park on Friday week against St. Pat’s. “If can get a result against Pat’s, which won’t be easy, then it will be a big step towards the play-off place which is realistically what Ollie and team is now aiming for. It’s also a big challenge for us off the field as there is a gap of five weeks without a home game from the 30th of August to the 4th of October. So on and off the field we need the Donegal football public’s support for the Pat’s game when we will also recognise those that were involved in the first match in 1969 and others who played down the years for Finn Harps,” Mr Campbell said.