FINN HARPS fell to a 3-1 defeat against Cork City on Friday night at Turner’s Cross.
Gearóid Morrissey, Sean Maguire and Karl Sheppard scored the goals for Cork, who had Kenny Browne sent off early in the second half. Ryan Curran – pictured above – pulled a goal back late in the night for Harps.
- Harps left to reflect on a costly trip
THE treatment room at Finn Park is a populated place these days.
Harps were already down the likes of Michael Rafter, Barry Molloy and Josh Mailey, who are all out long term, before they left for Cork on Friday.
By the time the 25th minute arrived on Friday night, Harps weren’t just 2-0 behind, but Ollie Horgan had also been forced into replacing two players.
After only ten minutes, Raymond Foy hobbled off with an injury and Adam Hanlon – who carried a knock into the game – followed him, with Tony McNamee and Liam Flatley coming on.
Things got worse when, on the hour, Richard Brush had to limp out of the action.
Fortunately for Harps, Ciaran Gallagher was able to make the trip south and the Raphoe man – who’d been Man of the Match last Monday in the EA Sport Cup loss at Galway United. – made a couple of important saves.
With an away fixture against fellow newly-promoted side Wexford Youths this week, Harps will hope that their injury woes clear up with Kevin McHugh having also been forced to miss the Cork game.
- Harps’ wretched record against Cork continues
HARPS went to Cork on Friday night with a rather pitiful record against Cork City.
While much is always made of Harps’ poor history against Derry City in the north-west derby – it’s now six wins in 60 meetings for Harps against the Candystripes – a scan through their previous meetings with Cork makes for grim reading.
After Gearóid Morrissey, Sean Maguire and Karl Sheppard netted the goals on Friday night in a 3-1 win for Cork at Turner’s Cross, the Rebels won for the 23rd time in 36 fixtures against Harps.
Have have, in fact, won only four times against Cork City, one of those an FAI Cup replay on their way to the final in 1999 when Donal O’Brien netted in a 1-0 win.
At Turner’s Cross, Pierce Walsh’s goal twenty years ago in a 1-0 win remains the only time that Harps have beaten Cork City in Cork.
That wait continues.
- Harps in a League within a League
THE first third of the season is almost completed. With two rounds of games before the cycle begins again, there is a gap evident now between those teams in the upper part and those in the lower half.
The top six and bottom six are separated by five points, a gap that stands between sixth-placed Shamrock Rovers and seventh-placed Finn Harps.
Harps and Longford Town, the League’s bottom club, have only five points between them.
The battle to survival looks like becoming a mini-League of sorts.
The general consensus is that Harps should look for a point a game to stay in the top flight and, with ten points from their opening nine matches, they’re on course to do just that.
It’s so far so good, but the final two games in the opening third sees Harps take on two sides who are below them. They travel to take on Wexford Youths at Ferrycarrig Park on Friday night before hosting Bohemians in Ballybofey seven days later.
A return of four points from those two games isn’t beyond Harps. Achieve that and their aim of finishing as his as possible in that League-within-a-League will be well on track.
- Part-time Harps show their worth
OLLIE Horgan has always stated that his team and his squad won’t be ‘found wanting for effort’.
Horgan preaches honesty and demands hard work from his players, but it is on nights like Friday where Harps supporters can perhaps really appreciate the job management and squad are doing.
The Harps team bus rolled out of Ballybofey at 9.30 am on Friday and didn’t pull up Navenny Street again until around 5am on Saturday.
Harps might be lacking in the quality department in comparison to some of their more illustrious opponents, but they certainly can’t have their commitments questioned.
The Dublin clubs often stay overnight in Donegal for games against Harps and Derry, while Cork stayed in Letterkenny before their clash with Derry City last month.
Harps don’t always have such luxuries. Last season, they went to Cobh Ramblers and Wexford twice without the aid of an overnight stay, but did push the boat out for the play-off against Limerick FC.
For Friday’s game, the Harps squad were on the go for 20 solid hours and were back in training again this morning.
Horgan has decided to do an overnight for the next game in Wexford, a clear signal that this is one fixture they’ve ear-marked as a key game. Part-timers they might be, but as Horgan reminds us every so often, these are players who ‘are here because they want to be here’.
Between now and the end of October, that could well be the difference in relegation and survival.
- Caulfield gets the win he craved
WHEN Cork defeated the defending champions, Dundalk, on March 18, the Rebels looked set to make a real statement of their intentions.
But they followed up that win in Oriel Park with three draws in a row with Cork held by Sligo Rovers, Wexford Youths and Galway United.
A 7-0 hammering of Waterford United in the EA Sports Cup in the week got Cork back on track, but it was League points that John Caulfield, the Cork manager, craved.
“We need to get a win,” Caulfield said in his pre-match press conference ahead of the Harps game.
“We have drawn three games, which were all games that were winnable; we have created chances in some of those but have not taken them.
“It is a huge game, we are at home and we need to start putting a few wins together. I felt the team were a little down and, as the manager, it is your job to get the confidence back.”
They did just that with a comfortable win.Tags: