FINN HARPS claimed a big three points on Friday night as goals by Josh Mailey and Tony McNamee secured a 2-0 win over Longford Town.
The win puts Harps 12 points clear of Longford and saw Harps win away from home for the first time in 2016.
Picture caption: Josh Mailey celebrates opening the scoring for Finn Harps against Longford Town. Picture by Gary Foy, newsandsportfiles
- Finn Harps are inching towards survival
THE mantra from Ollie Horgan remained the same afterwards, but there was no masking that this was a significant night at the office for Harps.
The 2-0 win over Longford lifted them to 12 points clear of Tony Cousins’ team and Harps are now 11 above Bray Wanderers, who are occupying the play-off spot at the moment.
Given the way the season has been panning out, it’s hard to imagine either Longford or Bray making up that ground and it is similarly difficult to see Harps capitulating to such an extent.
“Yeah, but how many points do you need to survive?” Horgan wondered in Longford.
“I don’t know. We’re a long way off the accumulation of points to survive. We’re only halfway through. Limerick were dead and buried at this stage last year, but came back and nearly stayed up.
“I still think we’re going to be in a relegation battle. We will have to play better than we did tonight.”
Horgan is right to demand improvement from his men as there were certainly nervy moments on Friday, before and after they scored, but his side is inching their way away from the quicksand.
Their next two outings, against Galway and Bray, could either confirm that or confirm Horgan’s assertions that the survival battle remains on.[adrotate group=”43″]
- Josh Mailey, the forgotten man, returns in style
THE last time before Friday that Josh Mailey’s team was in the starting XI for Harps was on that historic November night when Harps won promotion against Limerick FC.
Mailey had scored in the First Division play-off second leg against UCD and ended last season as one of Harps’ in-form players.
Mailey was courted by Derry City in the off-season and guested for the Candystripes in a friendly, but nothing ever materialised of the interest.
A knee injury deprived Harps of Mailey’s services until he came on for late cameos in the recent games against Shamrock Rovers and Sligo Rovers.
On Friday night, Mailey announced his return in some fashion.
His goal on 18 minutes was a real reminder of the talents he has. Mailey will be like a new signing for Horgan in the coming weeks and months; one who’s very much at home in the Premier Division.[adrotate group=”50″]
- Adaptable Harps show their strengths
HARPS were without Packie Mailey, Adam Hanlon and Dave Scully, who’ve been mainstays for Ollie Horgan throughout the season.
But it will have been pleasing for Horgan how his side coped without that trio.
Mailey pulled up at training on Wednesday night, but Damien McNulty came back from suspension and Josh Mailey was put in for a first start of 2016 as Harps had a new look about them.
Second guessing Horgan’s line-ups and formations can be a complicated exercise and he certainly cannot be accused of predictability.
Horgan deployed a 3-5-2 formation in Longford, with Ethan Boyle and Ciaran Coll on the flanks. And it worked a treat. Thomas McMonagle missed out despite an excellent display against Sligo, while Mailey, Hanlon and Scully will be well in the mix for returns.
And of course he has the weekly dilemma of whether to play Richard Brush or Ciaran Gallagher in goal.
Horgan’s squad is proving its worth these days.[adrotate group=”38″]
- Tony McNamee bound to flash on bigger radars soon
RODDY Collins, during an ill-fated time as the manager of Derry City, really rated Tony McNamee, who was on the books at Brandywell during his reign.
McNamee was given his chance by Collins, but the opportunities lessened when Peter Hutton took over and McNamee cut his ties.
Liam Coyle was another admirer when McNamee was on Foyleside and he’s surely winning more fans as his displays keep being so eye-catching.
He led Harps with a conductor’s baton in Longford and was Man of the Match. His performance was capped with a well-taken goal in the 74th minute.
Others are sure to be noticing his impact and Harps could do worse than attempt to put a new contract before the Ramelton man.[adrotate group=”37″]
- Limp Longford look doomed
THERE was an air of the inevitable around Strokestown Road on Friday night.
Only 351 paid through the turnstiles and Longford Town look and feel like a side that has already accepted that the cold fingers of relegation will be closing around their windpipes by the season’s end.
The days of their magical runs to FAI Cup finals and the European days that saw the transformation of this compact ground are long gone and it feels very much as if the Midlanders are heading back for Division One.
There was no energy, no passion and, seemingly, no direction.
In the stands, whatever supporters remain have long since growing restless and the City Calling Stadium is an unhappy abode right now.
Just how long Tony Cousins can survive is anyone’s guess.
The conundrum for Longford, though, is that a new man at the helm mightn’t have much hope of resurrecting them at this stage.[adrotate group=”46″] Tags: