Finn Harps' Daniel O'Reilly: 'The tie is still very much alive for us as we see it'

Thu, Oct 31 2019

Daniel O'Reilly in action for Finn Harps Credit: John-Paul McGinley (ETPhotos)

Finn Harps defender Daniel O’Reilly insists that both he and his Harps teammates believe that they can turn around their first-leg playoff deficit against Drogheda United on Friday evening.

O’Reilly, the former Longford Town star, has featured 33 times for the Co. Donegal side in the Premier Division this term and is hoping he can secure survival on Friday evening for his side. 

“The tie is still very much alive for us as we see it going into Friday,” the 24-year-old told extratime.ie

“We’re hoping to have a good crowd behind us and use that to our advantage to really kick on. It is a ninety minute game, so we need to be wary that Drogheda are very good going forward.

“We don’t have to win the game in the first half an hour, even the first-half so we’ll have a gameplan going in and hopefully it will work, and hopefully we can be celebrating on Friday.”

Having featured in the Premier Division once before with Longford, he was thrusted into a relegation dogfight with the Midlander’s.

It was a battle that eventually saw the Red and Black suffer a rather bleak relegation as a young O’Reilly departed the club during the summer months.

“I think age wise I’m much more mature as a player and a person, but I think, that year I was in and out a lot.

“I didn’t know whether or not I was going to be playing a few games in a row whereas this year I’ve played 30+ games so it’s been brilliant.

“Even if you do lose a few games, we’ve been very close in a few games, where we should’ve won or got a point in some.

The former Cherry Orchard schoolboy added; “I’ve really enjoyed working under Ollie. He’s been second to none with my travel, with me being up and down the road which he understands.

“Tactically, he’s spot-on. He knows how he wants his team to play which is always important because going into games you need to know what you’re going to do to hurt your opposition and how we’re to counteract what they’re going to do.”

Combining a career in the League of Ireland at night with a Strength and Conditioning job during the day, O’Reilly admits his background in the area can only be seen as a huge help to his own game.

“It’s obviously managing your loads from earlier on in the week to prepare yourself for the game.

“I suppose in that way I do have an edge in a sense to others who would be working office jobs because I have the knowledge but it’s becoming a big thing now in the League of Ireland with clubs.

“Clubs are really buying into the Strength and Conditioning side of things so it’s great to see from my perspective because I’m in the industry myself.

“Other leagues across Europe have bought into it for years and now the League is big into it. Dundalk and (Shamrock) Rovers are massive into it.

“You can see the benefits in the stature of the players and it’s great to see all the other teams are getting involved too.”

But for now, after an enjoyable year in the top-tier both on and off the pitch – the central defender turned wing-back would like to maintain his status as a Premier Division player – starting this Friday.

“There’s lots of games over the course of the year and the constant competitiveness week to week. You have to gear yourself up for every game.  

“Whereas in the First Division you might be playing against lesser teams some weeks, it’s kind of hard to motivate yourself at times but in the Premier Division it’s constant pressure every week.

“It’s been brilliant, I think it’s really brought me on as a player and I’ve really enjoyed it.

“The exposure of the Premier Division has been brilliant,” he continued.

“From the media side of things, I’ve noticed it. They are trying to cover the First Division a lot which is great.

“But even the Premier Division with the crowds, the social aspect of being known more as a Premier Division player, it’s great to have that status.

“You want more and more of that. You want to stay at that level and stay at the level playing as high as you can as you get older.

“It would be brilliant for the club to survive,” the former Fulham trainee finished. “They do everything right on and off the pitch.

“There’s a lot of Dublin teams in the league at the minute so to have that balance – I know people don’t like that travelling – but I think it just balances out the league and keeps that competitiveness.

“I think that would maintain that status.”