WHEN Mark Anthony McGinley missed a call from Ollie Horgan while on holiday in New York last year, the Finn Harps manager kept up his pursuit.
Horgan had coached McGinley (pictured by Joe Boland, North West Newspix) at Fanad United, where the Ards man emerged as a goalkeeper of real promise.
Last March, McGinley stepped away from the Donegal senior football panel. He had signed for Harps the previous month, unsure as to where he’d be gloving up.
When Ciaran Gallagher got injured, Horgan reached out to McGinley.
The Harps boss contacted McGinley’s father and outlined his predicament.
McGinley had previous experience in the League of Ireland with UCD and Bray Wanderers, but had stepped back when Rory Gallagher recruited him for the Donegal panel. The arrival of Shaun Patton, plucked also from a League of Ireland career by Declan Bonner, saw McGinley moved back in the pecking order.
Harps came calling and McGinley answered.
Harps survived relegation from the Premier Division last season with a play-off win over Drogheda United.
Remarkably, in a side battling for survival, McGinley kept nine clean sheets in 19 appearances. Friday night’s shut-out in the 1-0 win over Sligo Rovers in the 2020 season opener was his tenth clean sheet in 20 games for Harps.
At Finn Park, McGinley has now kept eight clean sheets in ten games.
The last time McGinley conceded at Finn Park was when strikes by Darragh Markey and Rhys McCabe gave St Patrick’s Athletic a 2-1 win in early September. He has played six-and-a-half hours of football in Ballybofey since without conceding.
His impressive 2019 sequence included a run of five clean sheets in six games.
Reflecting on joining Harps, he said last summer: “It fell right for me. It was a big decision.”
In November, he described staying up as ‘an unbelievable feeling.’
He said: “The Premier Division is where you want to play. It’s where the best teams and the best players in the country are. There’s a big difference in standard and we’re jus delighted to be there for another season.”
Last season, Harps didn’t win until their 16th game of the campaign. Friday night saw them get 2020 off to a winning start, with McGinley saving superbly from Ronan Murray late in the game after Karl O’Sullivan had put Harps in front.
McGinley was one of the first players to pledge their future to Harps for the 2020 season and it could be argued that he has become one of Horgan’s best signings.
Mark Anthony McGinley’s clean sheets
- November 1 2-0 v Drogheda (H) Play-off
- October 18 1-0 Waterford (H) PD
- October 4 0-0 v UCD (H) PD
- September 20 0-0 v Cork City (A) PD
- August 2 1-0 v Bohemians (H) PD
- July 26 1-0 v Derry City (H) PD
- July 19 1-0 v Waterford (A) PD
- July 1 0-0 v Cork City (H) PD
- June 28 2-0 v Sligo Rovers (H) PD
- February 14 1-0 v Sligo Rovers (H) PD