FINN HARPS MANAGER Ollie Horgan is of the opinion that his side haven’t seen the back of UCD just yet.
The Ballybofey side produced a fine 3-0 win over the Students on Friday night to secure second place in the SSE Airtricity League First Division and can now look forward to the promotion-relegation play-off.
Harps will travel to the third placed team in the division on Friday, October 23, before a home game seven nights’ later. The winner of that particular tie will then take on whoever finishes second last in the Premier Division over two legs.
Currently, in the First Division UCD are one point ahead of Shelbourne with two fixtures to play. Sligo Rovers are bottom but one in the Premier.
“Tonight we did well and deserved to win the game but it counts for nothing unless we produce that in the play-offs,” Horgan (pictured above) said. “UCD be coming up here in the play-offs, presuming its them and I think it will be. They’ll have Robbie Benson back, they’ll have Gary O’Neill in the middle of the field and Thomas Boyle back at centre-half.
“We need to get to that level again. To be fair to Shelbourne they’ve narrowed the gap but I will be surprised if it’s not UCD on the basis of what they have. Tonight wasn’t one of their better games but all we can hope is that if it’s them or if it’s Shelbourne then we want to produce that level of performance again.”
On Friday at Finn Park, Harps dominated from start to finish against an understrength UCD, who then lost Chris Mulhall, their skipper on the night, to a straight red card on 20 minutes for an off-the-ball stamping incident that involved Ciaran Coll.
Harps were well on top in the first half but couldn’t force a breakthrough, however their pressure told in the second when Nathan Boyle, Gareth Harkin and Raymond Foy netted to seal the points.
“They were short a number of starters and the fact they were down to 10 men early cost them, but to fair to our lads they deserved it,” Horgan said. “I’ll give them credit where credit is due and I will criticise them when that’s the case.
“I can’t complain. The effort is there the whole time, the work ethic is there the whole time. Tonight we added a little bit of quality to that. If we can do that in the play-offs then that’s all that matters. We’re looking to Athlone and Wexford in the last two league games and then we can look forward to the play-offs on October 23.
“Tonight, when UCD went down to 10 men they let us have the ball. The game wasn’t over till the second goal went in. Look, it’s great and it’s good we reached that level. It’s a pity we didn’t reach that level earlier in the season but we’ve a chance in the play-offs.
“Congratulations to Shane Keegan and the team in Wexford. They won it on merit. There’s a reason why they’re seven points ahead of us. They probably have the best mixture of physicality, experience and they’ve no shortage of players.
“They’re quite similar to us being from a rural GAA area, but the one thing that people don’t give them credit for is that they work their backsides off. I’ve nothing but congratulations for them.”
Horgan confirmed that Tony McNamee was withdrawn with a knock on the top of his knee and and remains “hopeful the injury is just a minor one.”
Next Sunday, Colaiste Ailigh Letterkenny will be the venue for a friendly between Horgan’s Harps and Derry City.Tags: