Finn Harps U19 manager Joe Boyle has a full squad to choose ahead of the final FAI National League Northern Section clash against Dundalk at the Curragh tomorrow afternoon (kick-off 2pm).
Both teams have already qualified for the knockout stages of the competition but what is at stake at the Curragh for the sides is the opportunity to finish in the top two, which guarantees home fixtures in the quarter-finals. It’s tight at the top with St. Pat’s leading on 35 points followed by Dundalk (34), Derry City (33) with Harps fourth on 32 points.
Boyle’s side secured a vital away point last Sunday in Longford, in extremely difficult conditions and with a number of players unavailable through injury and suspension while Mark Coyle and B.J. Banda didn’t travel after being called up to the first team squad for Monday night’s match in Dundalk. Harps claimed a vital point through a Simon McGlynn penalty with five minutes remaining.
“That point sets us up nicely for tomorrow’s game against Dundalk,” Boyle said.[adrotate group=”50″]
The manager is hoping that the 19s can repeat a win they had at home against Dundalk last season.
“Should we repeat last season’s result tomorrow then it will secure a second or third place in the Northern section of the U19 Elite League. The prospect of a home quarter-final should provide strong motivation for the squad to deliver a positive performance and another very valuable three points.”
Banda, Coyle, Liam Doherty, keeper Lee McCarron, captain Keelan McDermott, Alex Carolan and Oisin Hassett are all available after missing the Longford trip.
“That gives us more options for the Dundalk game and will all be needed as we try and continue our impressive run of only one defeat in their last 13 games. That level of performance and more will be required to overcome Dundalk,” Boyle said.[adrotate group=”38″]
The manager was pleased on Monday night to see B.J. Banda return to first team action and Mark Coyle make an impressive debut for the first team.
“B.J. and Mark will again be part of the first team squad for the Longford game at Finn Park tonight and then revert back to U19 duty with us tomorrow. This progression by the two boys highlights the progress made by the U19 squad and Boyle is hopeful that others will be promoted to the first team squad in the remaining games of this Premier Division campaign or in the next pre-season.
“It’s exciting times at Harps as the first team enters a period of rapid fire matches, the U19′s approach the play-offs and the U17′s push to secure qualification for the knockout stages as well.”[adrotate group=”37″]