Finn Harps manager Ollie Horgan insists that his men must approach tonight’s second leg in a ‘positive’ mindset.
With a 1-0 lead to protect from Monday’s first leg in Ballybofey, where Paddy McCourt’s goal was the sole separator, Horgan and Harps headed for the banks of the Shannon ahead in the tie.
Harps are not without their injury problems, though, with Jesse Devers, McCourt and Gareth Harkin all mentioned as having picked up knocks on Monday.
Of those, Devers appears to be in most danger of missing out, but Mark Timlin – who sat out Monday’s game – could return. The Buncrana man was unavailable to line out at Finn Park, but might well be included at the Markets Field.
Whether to sent McCourt to the trench from the start or keep him in cold storage ’till the second half is another dilemma for the Harps manager, who has suggested that it won’t be a case of parking the bus.
“We have to be positive from the start tomorrow night as a 1-0 lead won’t be enough for us to come out on top over the two legs unless Limerick are completely off their game,” Horgan observed.
“I don’t expect that to happen. Tommy Barrett and his players will be quite confident that they can turn it around in their favour.
“As I said after the game on Monday night they will be disappointed not to have got at least a draw.
“Limerick’s ball control, passing and movement was very good and we really struggled against them. There is no doubt about it that we were very lucky to get the win.”
There’s no doubt that Horgan’s assessment in this instance isn’t too far from the mark, with Conor Ellis having hit a post early in the game. It was a moment that could prove defining in the tie.
Harps will again start with Peter Burke in goal, with a knee injury having ended Ciaran Gallagher’s season.
Limerick may also be without their first choice ‘keeper after Tommy Holland left Finn Park on a stretcher in the first instalment.
The first goal tonight will be crucial. If it goes to Harps, the Premier beckons but a Limerick goal early and the expected bumper away support will endure a lengthy evening.
Horgan said: “I said before the season started that I would settle to be still in contention on the final day of the season and that is the way it has turned out.
“Our lads are ready to give it their best shot and hopefully they can deliver on that. There are some players with niggles, knocks and sore bodies after the first leg so we’ll see how that goes with the quick turnaround.
“We got a bit of luck on Monday night but more will be needed in the second leg. It’s a long journey but hopefully there will be a good support down from Donegal because we will need that backing to give us an extra boost away from home.
“We have a 1-0 lead but Limerick a Premier Division side has home advantage so that is the scale of the challenge we must rise to in order to get the right result.”Tags: