After impressively swatting aside the rather disappointing challenge of Longford Town last weekend at Finn Park, Finn Harps will be looking to make it four wins from four when they play host to 4th placed Shelbourne on Friday evening. (Kick-off 8pm)
Just prior to the mid-season break, it appeared as if Finn Harps’ promotion tilt was starting to run away from the Donegal side when they fell to a damaging three-one home defeat to UCD at Finn Park.
However, that result, and obvious disappointment has clearly sparked a renaissance at the Donegal club with three wins on the bounce for Ollie Horgan’s side.
That upturn in results has seen Harps rise from 6th place to 3rd as the Finn Park outfit look to re-ignite their title aspirations between now and the end of the season.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s clash at home to Shelbourne, Harps boss revealed that he is expecting a serious challenge from the reds as Drumcondra outfit look to get their title hopes back up and running after their defeat to Drogheda last week at Tolka Park.
“Shelbourne are the most experienced side in this First Division. They have power and pace that will certainly test us tomorrow night.” Horgan said.
“Up front David O’Sullivan has been a thorn in our side in the past when he was with Longford and he scored the equalizer against us in Ballybofey earlier in the season. Dean Delaney in goal knows the game inside out and then you have others like Derek Prendergast, Alan Byrne and Davy Mulcahy who have been in the League of Ireland for long time.
“Adam Evans is a smashing player and they have strengthened by taking in Greg Moorhouse. Shels might be two points behind us going into tomorrow night but unless we are on our game fully that will change quickly.”
In terms of team news for Horgan’s side, Harps will be without Paddy McCourt and Adam Duffy due to injury.
McCourt would have missed the Shels game in any case due to a suspension while the duo of Jesse Devers and Mark Coyle are both doubtful for tomorrow night’s game in Ballybofey.
After succumbing to a bitter defeat against promotion rivals Drogheda United last week, Owen Heary will be hoping that his side can bounce back from last weekend’s disappointment at Tolka Park with a big win away to Finn Harps in Ballybofey.
That result last week marked the end of Shelbourne’s twelve game unbeaten league run as the Reds failed to really get going at the Richmond Road venue while Sean Brennan struck late with a sumptuous free-kick from outside the box in the 89th minute.
However, that result provides Shelbourne with the perfect opportunity to regain the initiative in terms of the promotion race this Friday night when they make the long trek up north to face Harps who lie in third place of the First Division table.
In their most recent competitive game, Shels ran out 2-1 winners away to Longford Town at the City Calling where Shane Farrell grabbed a last gasp winner for the Reds via set-piece. Gavin Boyne scored Shels opener before Longford attacking star Dylan McGlade levelled matters.
In terms of team news for Friday evening’s game at Finn Park, Owen Heary will have to make do without the services of the injured trio of Lorcan Fitzgerald, James English and Mark Hughes who all miss out on the trip up north via injuries.
Should Shels win this encounter, they could potentially rise back into second place in the table, but that would require a shock of the highest order at United Park when the Drogs face Athlone Town.
Referee: Paula Brady.
There was no competitive game between Finn Harps and Shelbourne in 2017 as both sides were plying their trades in contrasting levels to one another. Harps played Premier Division football while Shels played in the First Division.
Shelbourne’s recent away record has been quite promising with Owen Heary’s side picking up ten points from a possible twelve in their last four away encounters.
Harps are now amid a three-game winning run with wins over Drogheda United, Cabinteely and Longford Town in recent weeks. That upturn in form has seen Harps shoot up the table to 3rd place, just five points behind UCD in 1st place.
Finn Harps 9/4; Draw 11/5; Shelbourne 5/4.
Finn Harps 1-0 Shelbourne
Injured: Paddy McCourt, Adam Duffy.
Doubtful: Jesse Devers, Mark Coyle.
Suspended: Paddy McCourt.
Injured: Lorcan Fitzgerald, James English, Mark Hughes.