Finn Harps FC held a very enjoyable end of season presentation function on Friday night in the Clanree Hotel Letterkenny.
Awards for outstanding performances in 2017 were presented to players from Academy and National League teams.
Pictures by Joe Boland, North West News Pix
MC for the evening Charlie Collins was joined by Paddy McCourt and last season’s club captain Ciaran Coll as well as underage managers, club personnel supporters, volunteers, players and coaching staff.
The emphasis was very much on youth on Friday night where young players from all age groups were recognised for outstanding dedication & performances in 2017. It was another great season for Harps underage with both Kevin McHughs U15s and Declan Boyles U17s unlucky not to reach their respective National League Finals following their considerable achievement of reaching the last four.
Paddy McCourt who has re-signed for Harps for the 2018 season presented the awards to young players from Academy and Youth sides including worthy recognition for members of the first ever Harps Girls Academy side. Paddy himself picked up an award for goal of the season for his now legendary effort against Sligo while there was a special recognition award for fans favourite Mickey Funston for the huge contribution he made during his 334 appearances for the club.
Nigel Hegarty representing supporters club the 54 Crew formally launched the Dennis O’Neill Memorial Cup – a supporters match in honour of much loved and faithful Harps fan. ‘The Major’ Dennis O’Neill sadly passed in September.
Head of Academy Kevin McHugh paid tribute to the commitment and expertise of all the Academy and Youth coaches and volunteers and thanked them for their massive dedication. Finn Harps would like to thank everyone who helped organise a great evening including MC Charlie Collins and photographer Joe Boland for the photos. Also acknowledged were the sponsors of spot prizes – Villa Rose Hotel, Warehouse Letterkenny, Sony Letterkenny, Arena 7, Lottie Dolls, Century Cinemas, Bonnars Stove Centre, Ballybofey Carpets and The Finn Harps shop.
In his address to Friday night’s awards gathering McHugh said the focus is to improve the underage football programme and bring it to another level next year. “From our Academy squads to Ollie’s first team squad, any player that comes in our door we aim to maximize their potential and see where that takes them. We aim to improve on 2017 both off the field and on it with updated equipment, better facilities, strength and conditioning and ongoing coach education which is vital to our club.”
2017 was a hugely successful year for the Academy from players being invited onto to national league squads to forming the first girls’ panel this year and assembling a new 2007 boys squad under head coach Darren Crozier. “Its been a fantastic year for our U17 who were second in the Northern Division and U15s topped their Northern Division. Both of these teams were pipped by eventual national league champions. U19 finished the season very strong and will now compete in the USL and push for a place in Ollie Horgan’s first team panel next season.”
Harps had nine players who got International recognition in 2017 from Schoolboy to full internationals. It was McHugh said something that the club was immensely proud of and a bench mark for going forward. “The National U19 / U17 / U15 and eventually U13 leagues provide a great standard of football for all aspiring young players in the Northwest. Hugely competitive games on a weekly basis is brilliant for the development of these boys.
Academy Team Awards
Most improved & Player of Year 06 Squad – MIP: Cain Gallagher POTY: Diezel Long, Head Coache: Maurice Lafferty helped by Paul Finn, Daniel Chambers;
05 Squad – MIP: Callum Mc Ateer, POTY: Josh Gallagher, Head Coach: Mikey Grant helped by Conor Quill, Dougie McNulty and Dylan Grant
04 Squad – MIP: Shaun Ryan, POTY: Daniel Dalton
Head Coach: Paul Rua McBride helped by Trevor Scanlon and JD Alawiye;
03 Squad – MIP: Sean McFadden POTY: Christopher Mulligan, Head Coaches: Liam Porter and Stevie Connaghan helped by Aaron MC Cready.
01/02 Squad – MIP: Ryan McGinley, POTY: Jonathan Cody, Head Coach: Neil Lloyd and Ryan Carlin.
05/06 Girls Squad – MIP: Caoimhe McCarron, POTY: Claire Diver, Head Coaches: Michael Doherty and Chantelle Grant
Recognition for contribution in 2017 – Above and beyond the call of Duty went to Finn Harps Academy Chairman Michael Grant and his family.
National League Team Awards
U15 Awards – Head Coach Kevin Mc Hugh – Coaches: Gary Crossan, Glen Gallagher and Andrew Wilson
Player of the Year: Adam McCaffery and Stephen Black
Young Player of The Year: Fionnan Coyle
Top Scorer: Luke Rudden (15 goals in 12 games Top scorer in National U15 League)
U17 Awards – Head Coach: Declan Boyle – Coaches Shane Barr, Paddy Kelly
Player of the Year: Keelan Mc Gill
Young Player of The Year: Conor o Reilly
Top Scorer: Niall McGinley
U19 Awards Head Coach: Joe Boyle, Coaches: Michael McMenamin.
USL Player of the Year: Paul Ferry
Player of The Year: Luke Neilis
Top Scorer: Gareth Doherty
Irish U21s Ethan Boyle
Irish U19s – Lee Mc Carron
FAI Schools Internationals
Shane Blaney and Jamie Bell Century Shield
Gareth Doherty, BJ Banda Century Shield 2016
U16 Internationals – Conor o Reilly
U15 Internationals – Fionnan Coyle, Patrick McGarvey