The RSC has proved to be a difficult venue for Harps down through the years, and they haven’t recorded a victory at the venue since a 4-3 win in August 2001, some eleven games ago.
After beating Mervue United three weeks ago, Harps have now lost two on the trot in the league against Athlone Town and Wexford Youths.
“I thought we played well, particularly second half,” said Harps Director of Football Felix Healy after the 1-0 home defeat to Wexford last weekend, “but the defending for their goal was extremely poor and rightly punished.”
Harps quickly put that defeat behind them and followed it up with a comfortable 2-0 victory over the Mayo League in the EA Sports Cup at the start of the week.
“Monday night gave us the opportunity to give one or two who haven’t been involved to get a run out,” said Healy.
“17 year-old Shane McGinty was also given his first team debut and it was quite an impressive debut. He, like one or two others from the under 19’s, will have more involvement with the first team once their season ends shortly.”
Although Harps have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their four league games to date, Healy is also worried about the fact that his team are not putting away any of the numerous chances that they are creating.
“A disappointing aspect again on Monday night was our inability to convert the chances created,” he said. “Indeed one or two misses were amongst some of the worst I’ve ever witnessed. We should have scored several goals in the past fortnight; at Athlone, Wexford and Mayo.”
On Saturday, Harps will look to halt their recent losing streak in the league. “Waterford suffered a heavy defeat in the league cup earlier this week and I have no doubt that they will be hoping to erase memories of that loss as soon as they possibly can,” said Healy ahead of the longest away trip of the season for Harps.
“Conceding 6 goals is never nice for any team but they recovered from a similar setback at Wexford in the opening match of the season to overcome Limerick and they’ll be going all out for a similar response against Harps.”
Healy is hoping that with a bit of consistency, Harps’ fortunes will soon turn. He certainly feels the team is better than recent results have shown.
“Our quality with the ball has been, at times, first class. (Thomas) McBride has tremendous ability, which allied with (Shaun) McGowan’s power and mobility should make for a very interesting pairing in the centre of midfield.
“Defensively, as a unit we could be better; however, some people have under-performed in their respective roles. It’s criminal that we only have 3 points after our first 4 league games, due to individual mistakes at the back.”
Harps will again plan without the injured Keith Cowan, while Stephen O’Donnell remains a doubt. “At this moment in time, we still await news of a scan Stephen O’Donnell had in Dublin on Monday. Whether he will travel to Waterford is in doubt but we remain hopeful.”
Doubtful: Stephen O’Donnell (medial ligament)
Injured: Keith Cowan (double hairline fracture ankle).
Form Guide (last six league games)
Finn Harps: L-L-L-W-L-L (3 pts)
Waterford United: W-L-L-W-W-L (9 pts)
Last six away games against Waterford United
23/11/2007 – Waterford United 3-3 Finn Harps (Promotion/Relegation Play-Off)
28/07/2009 – Waterford United 4-0 Finn Harps (First Division)
23/04/2010 – Waterford United 2-0 Finn Harps (First Division)
09/10/2010 – Waterford United 3-1 Finn Harps (First Division)
25/03/2011 – Waterford United 1-0 Finn Harps (First Division)
09/09/2011 – Waterford United 0-0 Finn Harps (First Division)
Finn Harps Goalscorers 2012
Kevin McHugh – 3 (1 in League Cup)
Adam Clarke – 2
Thomas McMonagle – 1
Finn Harps Results 2012 (Harps goalscorers in brackets)
26/03/2012 – (LC) Finn Harps 2-0 Mayo League (Mayo o.g., McHugh)
24/03/2012 – (FD) Finn Harps 0-1 Wexford Youths
16/03/2012 – (FD) Athlone Town 2-0 Finn Harps
10/03/2012 – (FD) Finn Harps 4-3 Mervue United (Clarke, McHugh 2, McMonagle)
02/03/2012 – (FD) Limerick 2-1 Finn Harps (Clarke)