League Preview: Finn Harps -v- Shelbourne

Fri, Mar 09 2018

Shels lost on the opening day despite taking an early lead through James English (pictured). Credit: Eoin Smith

FINN HARPS

After a number of false starts Harps will be dying to get their season going on Friday night against Shelbourne (kick-off 8pm).

Their trip to Drogheda on the opening night of the season was called off due to floodlight issues while last week’s snowy weather meant that both Friday’s League fixtures and this week’s EA Sports Cup games were all postponed.

Manager Ollie Horgan is looking to get their First Division campaign going with three points after a frustrating couple of weeks.

“We have to be up for this game and hopefully the lads will be after all the frustration of our first three matches being postponed,” the Galway native told the club’s website.

“While Shelbourne lost their first game against UCD, they do at least have an advantage of playing a competitive league game.

“They won’t be coming to Finn Park to settle for a draw. We will have to disciplined and patient because Shels will punish mistakes with the quality they have.

“They have a good balance of experience and youth in their panel. Derek Prendergast, Dave Mulcahy and David O’Sullivan have all played in the Premier Division.

“Shelbourne will be strong and I think they will be a position to push for promotion. There’s been a lot of changes to our squad so this is a big game for the new players that have come to us.”

Horgan has a number of injury concerns going into Friday night’s game with Eric Whelan out with a groin issue.

Ciaran Coll (ankle), Paddy McCourt (groin) and Gareth Harkin (knee) are all doubts for Friday night’s game.

 

SHELBOURNE

Shels have started their fifth consecutive season in the First Division in disappointing fashion after going down 2-1 to UCD on the opening night of the season.

Owen Heary’s men took the lead through a James English goal in the first half before the Students replied with two goals to take all three points in the second half.

Fans of the Reds will be looking for new signing David O’Sullivan to start firing them on to a promotion challenging season after the proven goalscorer moved from Longford Town during the offseason.

Harps teams have been notoriously hard to break down over the last few seasons and it’ll be up to Shelbourne to create and then take any chance they get against the Donegal side on Friday night.

Owen Heary will be without the services of Alan Byrne who is serving the second of a two-game suspension carried over from last season.

Mark Hughes will miss out because of an injury while Derek Prendergast is unavailable due to work commitments.

 

 

Referee: Marc Lynch

 

 

MATCH STATS

The last time these sides met was in August 2015 in Finn Park.

 

Harps legend and current head of their youth academy Kevin McHugh scored the only goal of the game to give Ollie Horgan’s men a 1-0 win at Finn Park that night.

 

 

BETTING

Finn Harps 5/6; Draw 5/2; Shelbourne 14/5.

 

PREDICTION

Finn Harps 2-0 Shelbourne

 

 

Finn Harps

Injured: Eric Whelan.

Doubtful: Ciaran Coll, Paddy McCourt and Gareth Harkin.

Suspended: None.

 

Shelbourne

Injured: Mark Hughes..

Doubtful: None.

Suspended: Alan Byrne.

Unavailable: Derek Prendergast (work).