After losing the season opener in Limerick, Harps got their first win of the campaign against Mervue at Finn Park last week. Despite winning, and scoring four goals, Harps Director of Football Felix Healy feels there is still room for improvement.
“We didn’t play as well as in the previous week against Limerick, particularly without the ball,” said Healy. “My only concerns regarding the goals we have conceded were the second and third goals scored by Mervue. We should have stopped the crosses for both goals and defended better at the back post.”
Obtaining the win last week was vital for Harps, as it took until the 13th game last season for Harps to record their first victory (co-incidentally against Athlone) – a fact not lost on Healy.
“Getting points on the board early is always important, for confidence as much as anything. Obviously Harps didn’t start too well last season and it became a major issue inside and outside the dressing room.”
On Friday, Harps face the trip to Athlone against a side that have won one and lost one of their opening two games.
“As the results of the first two weeks have suggested, there will be no easy games,” said Healy. “It is vital we approach the game in the right manner and if that is the case I believe we can get a positive outcome.”
Keith Cowan remains sidelined, but Stephen O’Donnell should be okay despite limping off in the second half of the 4-3 victory over Mervue at Finn Park.
“Stephen is fine for Athlone,” said Healy. “He is still suffering from a knock he picked up during the pre season game at Derry.”
There has never been much between these sides in games in Athlone, and apart from Harps 6-0 victory there in 2009, you have to go all the way back to an FAI Cup game at St. Mel’s Park in 1996 to find the last time that there was more than a goal difference between the teams. These two sides met twice at the Athlone Town Stadium last season, and shared a win apiece – both on 1-0 scorelines.
Injured: Keith Cowan (double hairline fracture ankle).
Form Guide (last six league games)
Finn Harps: L-W-L-L-L-W (6 pts)
Athlone Town: W-L-L-L-W-L (6 pts)
Last six away games against Athlone Town
06/06/2008 – Athlone Town 2-1 Finn Harps (FAI Cup)
18/04/2009 – Athlone Town 2-2 Finn Harps (First Division)
09/10/2009 – Athlone Town 0-6 Finn Harps (First Division)
10/07/2010 – Athlone Town 0-1 Finn Harps (First Division)
19/04/2011 – Athlone Town 1-0 Finn Harps (First Division)
20/08/2011 – Athlone Town 0-1 Finn Harps (First Division)
Finn Harps Goalscorers 2012
Adam Clarke – 2
Kevin McHugh – 2
Thomas McMonagle – 1
Finn Harps Results 2012 (Harps goalscorers in brackets)
10/03/2012 – Finn Harps 4-3 Mervue United (Clarke, McHugh 2, McMonagle)
02/03/2012 – Limerick 2-1 Finn Harps (Clarke)