TWO weeks ago on Tuesday, Ollie Horgan jumped into his car in Galway and pointed for Cork.
It was no secret that the Finn Harps manager was desperately seeking to add goals into a limp attack that hadn’t seemed as potent since Ruairi Keating’s return to Sligo Rovers following a loan move to Ballybofey for the opening four months of the season.
When Cobh Ramblers arrived in Ballybofey last month, they had just 15 players on the bus.
One of those wasn’t their top scorer, Rob Waters, who departed the club by mutual consent following the 3-0 loss against Wexford Youths.
Horgan had been in St Colman’s Park that night and when Waters’ departure was confirmed by Cobh, the Harps manager decided to roll the dice.
A fortnight ago, Horgan left his native Galway – where he resides during the summer months – and headed to Cork, where he met Waters and agreed terms.
Initially, the 24-year-old signed up for the remaining four away games of the season, the first of which saw him make his Harps debut in Friday’s 2-0 loss at Wexford Youths.
Horgan hasn’t ruled out the possibility of Waters being at Finn Park for the visit of Shelbourne, but the former Cork City and Dundalk player is hopeful that he can keep Harps’ promotion flames burning.
“The lads were top of the table but, although they have been bypassed now by Wexford, I see good spirit inside in the dressing room,” Waters says.
“I have no doubt that they’re capable of pushing up and getting the promotion spot.
“It’s times like this that you have to dig deep.”
Waters hit a handful of goals for Cobh this season and his move to Harps came as a shock to many.
Although he endured a frustrating evening at Ferrycarrig Park last week, the UCC graduate aims to hit the high notes again having been handed a passage back into senior football by Horgan.
“Ollie came down a couple of weeks ago to me here in Cork,” he says.
“I was meant to play against Harps above in Ballybofey, but I left Cobh that week. Ollie got wind of it and contacted me. He had seen me play against Wexford Youths for Cobh just before then and, after I left Cobh, he asked me to sign.
“I just want to play a bit of ball. Finn Harps is a great opportunity for me and I just want to help them for the rest of the season.
“It felt good playing again against Wexford. It was my first game in a while.
“I wasn’t at 100 per cent after a few weeks of not playing, but I feel that I’ll not be long getting up to speed and, hopefully, banging in a few goals for Finn Harps.”
A brace of goals by the in-form Danny Furlong put paid to Harps’ hopes of bagging an away win against their fellow title challengers and Wexford are now in the driving seat.
Furlong capitalised on a rare Ciaran Gallagher error in the 18th minute and, just five minutes later, he headed home a second. With that, the wind was firmly out of Harps’ sails.
Waters says: “We sat back and were caught for the first one and when we let in another straight away the heads just went down.
“The mindset was maybe to push for a draw at one-nil down, but the heads dropped with the second one.
“We were well in the game until they scored. There is quality there, but we’ll just have to keep pressing.”
Shelbourne haven’t lost in their last seven outings and come to Finn Park with Harps firmly in their sights – the Drumcondra residents are just three points adrift of Harps.
Depending on his work commitments this week, Waters may be a part of the Harps squad for the visit of the fourth-placed team in the Division.
He says: “Shelbourne is a huge game for us now. There’s been word about it already. It’s unfortunate to have lost to Wexford, but the mentality is right. We’re not too far behind.
“Ollie was saying after Wexford that it was one of their worst performances of the season. If that is the case, there is plenty of room for improvement – the squad is good enough anyway.
“The Shelbourne one is a huge clash for us now. Ollie will want us all there. The lads were immediately focussed on it right after the Wexford game.
“As it stands, I’ve agreed to play in the four away games and I’ve agreed with Ollie that I’ll get to as many games in Ballybofey as I can. I’ll try my best and try to help the team.
“We’re well in contention now and we just have to keep plugging away from now until the end of the season.”Tags: