OLLIE Horgan demanded a reaction after last week’s 2-0 defeat to Wexford Youths – and he got it as Finn Harps took a big step towards at least gaining a play-off spot thank to Friday’s win over Shelbourne.
Kevin McHugh’s 53rd minute penalty moved Harps six points clear of Shelbourne, the First Division’s fourth-placed team, and means they are now in a commanding position to get, at a minimum, play-off berth.
McHugh hit the 182nd goal of his Harps career to get Harps a much-needed win, seven nights after they crashed to defeat in Wexford.
A 14th clean sheet of the year was music to Horgan’s ears after a poor defensive display the previous week.
“It wasn’t pretty, but we ground it out and at least we stood up to it tonight,” Horgan (pictured above) said after the win, Harps’ first in four outings.
“Defensively, I thought that we were good. We weren’t by any means at our best but we stood up defensively when last week we were poor.
“We dealt with the long ball, we dealt with the ball over the top. We ran our luck a fair bit and the penalty was the way we scored – but it’s all about fine margins. We fell short of those margins last Friday, but came out the right side of it this time.
“Last Friday, mistakes came into it and we got bullied where we didn’t before. They responded very well against a very decent Shelbourne team.
“I don’t think anyone is getting carried away. It’s relentless. We have another game ahead of us. It’s week-by-week and we just need to try to build on it.”
The game marked the start of the final quarter of the season and there are just eight points between the top four teams in the Division.
Harps bossed Friday’s game for long periods and should have had more to spare than just McHugh’s penalty.
Horgan said: “We probably shaded it, but Shelbourne are always a threat and I was delighted to see Philly Hughes coming off. Until the final whistle went you weren’t counting the chickens. It took a savage effort to beat them.
“We got a rub of luck that we didn’t get in Wexford, but we’re better getting a loss and a win as getting two draws, which would have happened us last year. At least this means we’re a point further ahead.
“We have to play all the rest of the teams. UCD and Wexford have to come here and we still have to play Cabinteely who have improved dramatically and could take points off anyone. A lot of people could have a say in it yet.
“There’ll be twists and turns before the end of the season. If we can hang in there with something to play for we’ll be very happy.”Tags: