Despite reaching the semi-final of the Cup, it’s been a disappointing few weeks for Harps in their league campaign as they have watched their slim play-off hopes fizzle away after a trio of defeats against Cobh Ramblers, Shamrock Rovers ‘B’ and Galway FC.
With all his eggs in one basket now in terms of getting something out of the season, Harps manager Ollie Horgan will be using Friday’s game against Shelbourne and the game against Wexford next Tuesday as preparation for the Cup semi-final next week against St. Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park.
“Shelbourne will be a great preparation match before the Cup semi-final,” said Horgan. “While they are behind the standard of St.Pat’s, which isn’t an insult to any team, they play a similar type of game, keeping possession with a great range of passing.”
Last weekend Harps suffered their biggest defeat of the season when they lost 3-0 against Galway in Terryland Park. Horgan said that his side got exactly what they deserved from the game.
“Galway were the better side on Friday,” he said. “They played good football as they always try to do.
“We didn’t deserve anything out of the game with the amount of mistakes we made. While we can use the excuse of two tough games in the previous six days, I still think Galway would have beaten us in the manner they went about their business.”
Horgan knows Friday’s game at Finn Park is going to be another tough affair for his charges.
“We try to get something out of every game but that hasn’t happened in last three league games. Shelbourne, like Galway play great football, with Gary Dempsey setting play up and the pace and ability of the likes of Dylan Connolly getting into crucial areas.
Harps will have to plan without the injured duo of Darragh Black and Packie Mailey. Aside from that, Horgan has a full squad to choose from.
Harps have failed to beat Shels in any of the three previous meeting this season. The first meeting at Tolka Park finished in a 2-0 victory for the home side, but the most recent two games have seen 1-1 stalemates.