OLLIE HORGAN takes Finn Harps to The Showgrounds tomorrow night for their latest mission in what the Harps manager says is a ‘savage’ League.
Horgan has already used words like ‘relentless’ and ‘mental’ to describe what life in the League of Ireland’s Premier Division has been like.
After an opening night win over Derry City at Finn Park, Harps lost to Dundalk last Friday and were beaten 1-0 by Shamrock Rovers in Ballybofey on Monday.
Harps now face two games in four days with an EA Sports Cup game against Cockhill Celtic in Finn Park to come on Tuesday,
“It’s savage, just absolutely savage,” Horgan says.
“It’s mentally tough and physically it’s extremely tough. There is no let up in it at all.
“The First Division is very difficult, but this is even more so. It’s stronger, it’s faster, it’s quicker and things are just better technically. My hope is that we might get better as the season goes on.”
Harps fought tooth and nail on Monday night, but left Ballybofey empty handed as Gary McCabe’s 70th minute penalty saw Shamrock Rovers take the win.
Harps supporters were angered with the awarding of the penalty, given after Richard Brush was adjudged to have fouled Danny North.
Their feelings heightened as it was Simon Madden who put in the ball that led to North going down with Madden having been involved in a clash with Dave Scully at a time when he was already on a yellow card
Scully, adding that Michael Funston should have been given a penalty right at the end, said Harps were ‘robbed’, although his manager was rather more philosophical about it all.
“Did we deserve anything?” Horgan asks.
“We deserved a point, but not any more. It’s probably as good an effort as we can give.
“They’re wrecked after it, but that’s the League we’re in. Last year, that performance would have got us a draw against UCD and we might have sneaked a goal.
“We didn’t create a chance so we didn’t deserve to win it. It was a tight game that could have gone either way. That’s as much as they can give.”
Horgan had some good news this week with Ciaran Coll recovering from the knee injury he picked up in Dundalk last week.
Harps remain without Josh Mailey, Michael Rafter, Barry Molloy and Sean Houson. Molloy is ‘in months territory’ and Houston ‘is in weeks’, Horgan reported, with Mailey and Rafter yet to return to training.
Richard Brush seems set to continue in goal having been elevated last Friday to replace Ciaran Gallagher, who was unable to travel to Oriel Park because of work commitments.
Sligo come into this game on the back of a one-all draw against Galway United at home on Monday. Last week they were beaten by Bohemians 1-0 and lost their opener 2-0 against Shamrock Rovers.
Kieran Sadlier and Craig Rodden were sent off in that defeat.
“I saw that game and Sligo were excellent with ten men, but with nine they were nearly better,” Horgan says.
“They’re very energetic, they gave great pace and great movement. They’re very quick and they have a lot of strong young lads. They will pose a greater set of problems than Shamrock Rovers.
“We will have our work cut out but that’s going to be the case every week.”