AN ALREADY DIFFICULT task got a whole lot tougher for Ollie Horgan and Finn Harps when his already lengthy injury list got the names of more casualties.
A long trip to Turner’s Cross, a venue at which Harps have only ever won at once in their history against Cork City, was never going to be routine, but there is real concern for the Harps manager tonight.
Centre-back Keith Cowan limped out of Monday’s EA Sports Cup game against Galway United in extra time and that injury rules him out of action for tonight’s game.
Thomas McMonagle also picked up an injury and he, too, will be absent from the roster, as will winger Adam Hanlon.
Cowan’s void is now likely to be filled by Damien McNulty with Ethan Boyle the likely deputy at right-back.
Hanlon picked up a knock in last Friday’s 1-0 win over Bray Wanderers at Finn Park and hasn’t managed to shake it off, with Michael Funston and Raymond Foy both vying for returns to the starting XI.
Horgan is also sweating on the fitness of Kevin McHugh and Dave Scully – the match winner against Bray – ahead of the game.
“It doesn’t get much more difficult than away to Cork for a whole pile of reasons”, said Horgan.
“The distance might be a long one, but that is the least of the worries.
“They have an excellent panel of hugely talented players, they are technically and physically very strong and have a great mixture of experience and youth. It could be a long hour and half for us.”
Harps have played 17 times previously at Turner’s Cross against Cork City, but have won only once. That came 20 years ago, in the first-ever Premier Division meeting of the teams, when Pierce Walsh was the Harps match winner.
Harps have made a decent start to life in the top flight again with ten points on the board from their first eight games, but will be acutely aware of the task that awaits by the Lee.
Ballybofey’s Johnny Dunleavy is the Cork captain but he looks set to miss a meeting with his hometown club after sustaining concussion last Friday in the 2-2 draw with Galway Iast week.
Since defeating defending champions Dundalk, Cork have drawn three-in-a-row and manager John Caulfield makes no bones about what he wants tonight.
“We need to get a win,” Caulfield said.
“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.
“I believe there is massive potential in this team and tremendous ability, but we have hit a bit of a blip where we have struggled to score goals.
“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.”Tags: