Premier League football the big goal for Finn Harps
Manager Ollie Horgan says his side remain underdogs prior to big Limerick clash
Finn Harps manager Ollie Horgan: “It will be very difficult to overturn Limerick with the quality that they have.” Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Preview: League of Ireland Promotion/Relegation Play-off (2nd leg)
Finn Park, 7.45pm
While acknowledging his side could well have been facing a far more arduous task after Monday’s narrow first leg defeat, Ollie Horgan nonetheless believes Finn Harps remain very much up against it ahead of this evening’s Promotion/Relegation play-off return in Ballybofey.
Ironically, a spectacular goal from Killybegs native Shaun Kelly is what separates the teams as they meet again to decide which will play in the Premier Division next season.
“The Limerick result could have been a lot worse on the amount of chances that they created,” said Harps’ manager Horgan, reflecting on that somewhat one-sided first leg.
“It will be very difficult to overturn Limerick with the quality that they have,” he added. “We have to score and try to keep a clean sheet.”
Being hampered by injuries scarcely helps First Division Harps’ prospects as Nathan Boyle is almost certainly out having aggravated a hamstring injury at Markets Field. Fellow striker Kevin McHugh remains a doubt while both right-back Damien McNulty and midfielder Raymond Foy face fitness tests.
Despite their first leg win, Limerick manager Martin Russell wasn’t happy with Harps’ physicality on Monday which resulted in winger Ian Turner and strikers Vinny Faherty and Dean Clarke picking up knocks.
“I’m hopeful that the lads manage to come through, but there were a few challenges the other night that were let go and yellow cards not given when they should have been,” said Russell.
“I hope whoever the official is (tonight), is big enough for the occasion.”
Having won four of their last five away games during their remarkable recovery in the final third of the season, Limerick won’t be daunted at defending their lead in Donegal tonight.
“We have belief in ourselves,” said Russell. “We do believe we’ve got goals in us if the attacking players are right.
“But we know that Finn Harps, equally, have a big prize to play for, and we’re going to have to play well.
“We’ll be prepared as well as we can be and if we can get the strongest possible side out, hopefully, it will be good enough.”