Mervue United -v- Finn HarpsThu, Aug 30 2012
It’s been an up and down journey for Mervue since the mid-season break as wins over Wexford and Athlone saw them looking upwards with realistic ambitions of a mid-table finish.
Since then the wheels have come off with defeats to Waterford and Longford either side of a particularly disappointing loss to local rivals, and fellow basement strugglers, SD Galway.
With a quarter-final spot in the FAI Cup up for grabs in their re-scheduled fixture against Waterford on Monday, Johnny Glynn could be heading into the clubs most important four days of the season.
A win at home against Harps could give them all important breathing space as they battle to keep their city rivals in bottom position but focussing his side with the upcoming cup-tie looming, and a potential reward of a trip to the Brandywell to face Derry City in the next round may prove a difficult job.
They will also have to contend with the loss of defender Mike Elwood who must serve a one-game suspension for yellow cards received.
Harps make the journey south looking to extend their unbeaten run to eight games, no doubt buoyed with confidence after taking four points from their last two encounters which came against teams in the top three.
Unfortunately for Harps fans their run of good form has come too late to force their way into the top three, and a promotion play-off spot, barring a spectacular collapse from one the teams above them.
Peter Hutton will, however, demand a strong finish from his team knowing they can strengthen their hold on fourth spot with a win, a position that seemed unlikely only a month ago.
To do so, they will have to improve considerably on their last performance in Fahy’s field when they were comprehensively beaten by three goals to nil.
Speaking to the club website Hutton cautioned his team not to underestimate the opposition because of their lowly league position:
“It’s a potential banana skin. The last time we went down to Mervue they thoroughly beat us. It was actually a very embarrassing performance if anything. They comfortably beat us. They have a few fresh faces in now since the transfer window and they also have a couple of lads back from long-term injuries so they’re going to be a difficult side. I think they’re in a false position given the quality they have in their team.”
The manager will have to plan without the suspended trio of Thomas McBride, Kevin McHugh and Aaron O’Hagan. Gary Merritt, Tommy Bonner and Paul McVeigh are all doubts, while Michael Funston remains sidelined.
Referee: Ray Matthews
Harps have lost all of their last four visits to Mervue, including a 3-0 reversal at Fahy’s Field at the end of April.
Mervue’s Alan Murphy has scored in the last two games against Harps. He got one in the three goal home victory and netted twice when they went down 3-2 in Ballybofey.
Mervue gained their first ever LOI point in their third game of the 2009 season following a 1-1 draw with Finn Harps at Terryland Park as Conor Gethins denied the Galway club a first win with a 91st minute equaliser.
Mervue United 15/8 Draw 9/4 Finn Harps 13/10.
Harps to extend their winning run as Mervue dream of cup success, Mervue United 1-2 Finn Harps.
Mervue Injury News: Martin Conneely, Kenny Farrell, Alan Murphy (out) - Noel Varley (doubt).
Mervue Suspension News: Mike Elwood.
Harps Injury News: Michael Funston, Doubtful: Gary Merritt, Tommy Bonner, Paul McVeigh.
Harps Suspension News: Thomas McBride, Kevin McHugh, Aaron O’Hagan.