The top two will go head-to-head at Tolka Park on Friday night as Finn Harps face their second away game of the season against Shelbourne (kick-off 8.00pm).
The two sides are the only remaining unbeaten teams in this season’s First Division and both will be keen to build on their positive starts to the season which has seen both win two and draw two of their opening four games.
“Away in Tolka will be our biggest test so far this season,” said Harps Manager Ollie Horgan as he looks forward to Friday night’s game.
“Not only is it an away game against a side the calibre of Shelbourne, but up in Dublin it will be very difficult. They have the quality players like Keith Quinn and Jordan Keegan as well as the experience of Willo McDonagh, Philip Hand, Conor Murphy and Brian Gannon.
“All these players have played in the Premier Division. Then they have the likes of Dylan Connolly, Jake Donnelly and Lee Desmond who are exciting young players who have come through their u-19s.”
Harps conceded their first goal of the campaign last weekend in the 1-1 draw with ten man Galway United at Finn Park where they had to come from behind to grab a share of the spoils
“Although we didn’t play well on Saturday, I was happy to get a point out of the game,” said Horgan. “This was especially so after we fell behind in the game. “There is still a lot of room for improvement especially in the concession of Galway goal.
“Galway are a good side and have experienced players as well as many attacking options. They were similar to Waterford where we were slightly fortunate to pick up a point as well.
“Galway sat deep with ten men and hit us on the break. It worked well for them, they have a lot of pace and Vinny Faherty held the ball up well and took his goal excellently. To be fair to our lads, they kept plugging away, didn’t get impatient and made our way back into game.”
Harps will go into the game on Friday night without the services of three strikers. Kevin McHugh (hamstring), Sean McCarron (fractured cheek) and Ruairi Keating (suspended) are all missing. That means that Paul McVeigh, who came off the bench and scored the equaliser against Galway, is likely to start as the lone striker.
Harps haven’t beaten Shels at Tolka Park since September 2007 when two goals from Shaun McGowan helped the visitors to a 2-1 victory. The last five games between the sides at Friday night’s venue have all resulted in victories for Shels.
Suspended: Ruairi Keating.
Injured: Kevin McHugh (hamstring), Sean McCarron (fractured cheek).
Form Guide (last six league games)
Finn Harps: W-D-D-W-W-D (12 pts)
Shelbourne: L-L-W-W-D-D (8 pts)
Last six away games v Shelbourne
21-Sep-07 Shelbourne 1-2 Finn Harps (First Division)
31-Jul-09 Shelbourne 2-1 Finn Harps (First Division)
02-Apr-10 Shelbourne 1-0 Finn Harps (First Division)
17-Sep-10 Shelbourne 3-1 Finn Harps (First Division)
29-Apr-11 Shelbourne 1-0 Finn Harps (First Division)
25-Oct-11 Shelbourne 4-0 Finn Harps (First Division)
Finn Harps Goalscorers 2014
Pat McCann – 3
Ruairi Keating – 2 (1 in League Cup)
Keith Cowan – 1
James Doherty – 1
Michael Funston – 1
Paul McVeigh – 1
Carel Tiofack – 1
Sean McCarron – 1 (in League Cup)
Finn Harps Results 2014 (Finn Harps scorers in brackets)
29-Mar-2014 – Lg – Finn Harps 1-1 Galway FC (McVeigh)
21-Mar-2014 – Lg – Finn Harps 5-0 Cobh Ramblers (Doherty, Tiofack, McCann 2, Keating)
16-Mar-2014 – Lg – Shamrock Rovers B 0-3 Finn Harps (Cowan, Funston, McCann)
10-Mar-2014 – LC – Finn Harps 3-2 Cockhill Celtic (McCarron, O’Donnell o.g., Keating)
07-Mar-2014 – Lg – Finn Harps 0-0 Waterford UnitedTags: