But, Harps boss James Gallagher disagrees and he takes his squad on the long journey south tonight confident of picking up a positive result.
“The way I’m looking at it and I know it shouldn’t be the case, but we tend to do quite well against the stronger sides, while we tend to make hard work of the lesser sides. We’re going to Cork now and I fancy us going down there with a couple of boys coming back,” said Gallagher.
Turners Cross – Kick-off 7.45pm
by Joe Doherty
Harps have only ever once recorded a victory at Turners Cross against Cork City – that coming almost fifteen years ago when a Pierce Walsh free-kick was the only goal of the game in September 1996. Since then, the 300 mile trip home has normally been one of disappointment.
Last weeks stalemate against Salthill Devon at Finn Park was Harps’ third draw in three home games this season, and also the third time that they found themselves finishing the game with ten men.
After Mark Forker and Tommy Bonner seen red in the opening two games of the campaign, Marc Brolly was the one to fall foul of the referee last Friday.
However, there was no disguising what was Harps’ poorest performance of the season so far.
“It was a disappointing first half, you could tell that we didn’t have a game the previous weekend and you could tell that we didn’t have many at training during the week, so it probably took the boys a good forty-five minutes to open up their lungs,” said Gallagher.
“We played a wee bit better in the second half and in fairness to Salthill, where they knocked the ball about and we couldn’t get close to them, we probably did that in the second half and more, but without having that penetrative pass or bit extra to get you the goal.
“We had a lot of the possession in the second half but a lot of it was side to side, we would go forward and then we would come back, not really getting in behind them. It’s very frustrating, it’s another draw and certainly we need to start picking up three points and we need to do that fairly quickly.
“A lot of sides have noticed an improvement with Salthill but we’d like to think we’ve improved as well and like I said before the game it’s one I would expect to win and get three points in.
“You’ll only do that if the appetite and hunger is right, which it wasn’t really in the first half and, although we hadn’t played in two weeks, we don’t want to be making too many excuses. Salthill were decent in the first half and we were quite good in the second but didn’t do enough to get the three points,” he said.
With Marc Brolly suspended, Gallagher will have to make at least one change to his side for the trip to Cork tomorrow. He may make more, with Paddy McLaughlin, Tommy Bonner and Gary Merritt all pushing for inclusion in the squad after missing out last week while Gareth Harkin is also hoping to be passed fit.
“You’d like to go down with a fully fit squad but it’s not the case for us, we have a few players coming back from injury who are not quite a hundred percent just yet.
“But it’s a great place to go, apparently they’ve been getting big crowds this season, so hopefully the adrenaline and atmosphere will help our boys give that bit extra,” said Gallagher ahead of the longest away trip of the season.
“It’s fairly similar to the Waterford trip three weeks ago, it will be something along the same lines, though we will have a slightly stronger squad this weekend to the one we brought to the RSC.
“We’ll have to be disciplined, stay well organised and when one or two chances come our way, we need to try and take them, which we didn’t do in Waterford.”
Cork have had a great start of the season, winning three and drawing three of their opening six games.
They currently sit in second place, some nine points ahead of Harps – although James Gallagher’s side do have two games in hand on their Friday night hosts. Last weekend, they beat fellow promotion favourites Waterford United by the odd goal in three at the RSC.
“By all accounts, Waterford were the better side last week but credit to Cork they went there and got the three points and will obviously be very confident going into the game.
“But, it’s a game myself and the players have been really looking forward to. Form would obviously suggest Cork will be fancied coming into the game, but once the whistle blows, it will have no bearing on how we play,” said Gallagher.
Suspended: Marc Brolly.
Doubtful: Gareth Harkin (ankle).
Injured: Garbhan Friel (knee).
Form Guide (last six league games)
Finn Harps: D-W-D-D-L-D (7 pts)
Cork City: W-D-W-D-D-W (12 pt)
Recent games away to Cork City
10-Sep-02 – Lost 0-2 (FAI Cup)
06-Jun-05 – Lost 0-2 ( Premier Division)
29-Aug-05 – Drew 0-0 (FAI Cup)
18-Apr-08 – Lost 0-3 (Premier Division)
10-Oct-08 – Drew 1-1 (Premier Division)
23-Jul-10 – Lost 1-2 (First Division)
Finn Harps Goalscorers 2011
Kevin McHugh – 3
Gareth Harkin – 1
Finn Harps Results 2011 (Harps goalscorer in brackets)
8th April 2011 – FD – Finn Harps 0-0 Salthill Devon
28th March 2011 – EA – Mervue United 1-0 Finn Harps
25th March 2011 – FD – Waterford United 1-0 Finn Harps
18th March 2011 – FD – Finn Harps 2-2 Monaghan United (McHugh 2)
4th March 2011 – FD – Finn Harps 2-2 Limerick (McHugh, Harkin)