After back-to-back victories over the Mayo League and Waterford United, Finn Harps will be hoping to make it a hat-trick of wins when they host SD Galway at Finn Park on Good Friday (kick-off 7.45pm).
After a morale boosting victory over the Mayo League in the EA Sports League Cup, Harps followed it up with a 2-0 victory at the RSC last Saturday against Waterford United – Harps’ first victory at the venue in almost eleven years.
“We played particularly well for about an hour,” said Harps Director of Football Felix Healy of the victory over Waterford, “and should have had the game well wrapped up going into the later stages. We didn’t punish them when we were really dominant at the beginning of the second half.”
The game in Waterford was halted for over twenty minutes after a clash between Finn Harps goalkeeper Ciaran Gallagher and Waterford defender Seamus Long. Gallagher was eventually taken to hospital after the long delay to the game, but thankfully was able to travel home with his teammates.
“We expect Ciaran to be available for the Longford game next week, and I would just like to say a big thank you to everyone at Waterford for their assistance, particularly the medical staff and the club doctor. They couldn’t have done more for us,” said Healy.
Healy was quick to praise Shaun Patton, who stepped in between the posts when Gallagher was being taken to hospital and saved a second half penalty. “Sixteen year old Shaun Patton showed tremendous maturity for such a young man, when called upon. A terrific prospect indeed.”
“Paul Simon Tracey showed in his two games that he is a very accomplished player with very good technical ability,” continued Healy. “I also have to mention the performance of Shaun McGowan at Waterford, he was first class.”
As well as recording victories in the last two games, Harps have also done it by keeping their first clean sheets of the season – something Healy said is down to manager Peter Hutton playing again.
“Peter has made a considerable difference and it’s no coincidence that we have had two clean sheets in a row. Just to have someone who can talk to a number of relatively young men is a great asset.”
Friday’s match will be the seventh fixture between the two sides, and the fifth at Finn Park. Harps have a near perfect record on the Galway side, dropping points in only one of the six previous games – that being in a scoreless draw at Finn Park last season. However, Healy is urging caution. “Salthill will be an extremely difficult tie. Anyone who thinks any different is making a big mistake. There are no easy games in this division.”
After Friday’s game, Harps are back in action quickly again as they make the short trip to the Brandywell to take on Derry City in the second round of the EA Sports Cup. Kick-off in Derry is at 2.00pm.
Injured: Keith Cowan (double hairline fracture ankle), Stephen O’Donnell (medial ligament), Ciaran Gallagher (concussion).
Form Guide (last six league games)
Finn Harps: L-L-W-L-L-W (6 pts)
SD Galway: L-L-D-L-L-D (2 pts)
Recent home games against SD Galway (Salthill Devon)
12/03/2010 – Finn Harps 2-0 Salthill Devon (First Division)
20/08/2010 – Finn Harps 3-2 Salthill Devon (First Division)
08/04/2011 – Finn Harps 0-0 Salthill Devon (First Division)
24/09/2011 – Finn Harps 2-0 Salthill Devon (First Division)
Finn Harps Goalscorers 2012
Kevin McHugh – 3 (1 in League Cup)
Adam Clarke – 2
Paul Simon Tracey – 1
Thomas McMonagle – 1
Finn Harps Results 2012 (Harps goalscorers in brackets)
31/03/2012 – (FD) Waterford United 0-2 Finn Harps (Tracey, Waterford o.g.)
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)