Finn Harps may have up to ten players unavailable through injury and suspension on Saturday night as they welcome top of the table Limerick to Finn Park (kick-off 7.45pm).
Saturday’s game signals the start of the final quarter of the season and Harps face the only side they have failed to take a point off in league action this season.
However, Manager Peter Hutton has something of a mini-crisis which could see as many as ten players missing through injury and suspension. Thomas McBride is banned, while Mark Scoltock, Michael Funston, Adam Clarke and long term trio Stephen O’Donnell, Hugh Carlin and Blain Curtis are all injured. On top of that, Gary Merritt, Thomas McMonagle and Tommy Bonner all have groin strains and are rated as doubtful. It’s hardly ideal for the visit of the First Division Champions elect.
“We basically have a whole team of players unavailable for the weekend but, as I’ve said before, it’s an opportunity for others to come in an show us what they have,” Hutton said. “We’re looking forward to seeing against Limerick where we’re at, having lost to them three times already this season.”
“We’ve done well against them up to a certain point. Thomas McBride got sent off in two of the games against them so that certainly didn’t do us any favours. It’s extremely hard to beat them with eleven players, never mind ten, so we’ll be drilling that message into the players how important it is to remain disciplined”, continued Hutton.
Last weekend Harps stretched their unbeaten run to six games with their second victory of the season over Longford Town at Flancare Park.
It was a great three points for us,” Hutton said. “It was a real battling performance and it was probably a game that wasn’t for the purists. We didn’t really give a good account of ourselves in the first half but came more into it after the break and Kevin took his goal really well. We were delighted with the three points.”
All three previous games between the sides this season have finished in victories for Limerick. Pat Scully’s men opened the season with a 2-1 victory over Harps, while they ran out 3-1 winners at Finn Park in April while the second meeting in Limerick at the end of July ended in a 3-0 defeat.
Suspended: Thomas McBride (7th of 8 games).
Doubtful: Gary Merritt (groin), Thomas McMonagle (groin), Tommy Bonner (goin).
Injured: Mark Scoltock (back), Michael Funston (ankle), Adam Clarke (ankle), Stephen O’Donnell (cruciate), Hugh Carlin (cruciate), Blain Curtis (cruciate).
Form Guide (last six league games)
Finn Harps: W-D-D-D-W-W (12 pts)
Limerick: L-W-W-W-D-W (13 pts)
Last six home games against Limerick
08/08/2009 – Finn Harps 1-2 Limerick (First Division)
26/03/2010 – Finn Harps 0-3 Limerick (First Division)
10/09/2010 – Finn Harps 1-1 Limerick (First Division)
04/03/2011 – Finn Harps 2-2 Limerick (First Division)
13/08/2011 – Finn Harps 1-2 Limerick (First Division)
21/04/2012 – Finn Harps 1-3 Limerick (First Division)
Finn Harps Goalscorers 2012
Kevin McHugh – 10 (1 in League Cup)
Adam Clarke – 4
Thomas McBride – 3
Paul McVeigh - 2
Blain Curtis – 2
Ciaran Coll – 2
Paul Simon Tracey – 2
Thomas McMonagle – 2
Matt Harkin – 2
Thomas Bonner – 1
Aaron O’Hagan – 1
Shaun McGowan – 1
Finn Harps Results 2012 (Harps goalscorers in brackets)
11/08/2012 – (FD) Longford Town 0-1 Finn Harps (McHugh)
03/08/2012 – (FD) Finn Harps 2-0 SD Galway (McHugh 2)
27/07/2012 – (FD) Waterford United 1-1 Finn Harps (Harkin)
21/07/2012 – (FD) Finn Harps 3-3 Wexford Youths (McMonagle, McHugh, McGowan)
13/07/2012 – (FD) Athlone Town 1-1 Finn Harps (O’Hagan)
07/07/2012 – (FD) Finn Harps 3-2 Mervue United (McHugh, McVeigh 2)
29/06/2012 – (FD) Limerick 3-0 Finn Harps
22/06/2012 – (FD) Finn Harps 1-3 Longford Town (Harkin)
30/05/2012 – (FD) Salthill Devon 1-5 Finn Harps (Bonner, McBride 2, Coll 2)
23/05/2012 – (FC) Derry City 4-0 Finn Harps
18/05/2012 – (FD) Finn Harps 0-1 Waterford United
11/05/2012 – (FD) Wexford Youths 3-0 Finn Harps
05/05/2012 – (FD) Finn Harps 1-2 Athlone Town (McHugh)
27/04/2012 – (FD) Mervue United 3-0 Finn Harps
21/04/2012 – (FD) Finn Harps 1-3 Limerick (Clarke)
14/04/2012 – (FD) Longford Town 1-3 Finn Harps (Tracey, McBride, Curtis)
09/04/2012 – (LC) Derry City 4-0 Finn Harps
06/04/2012 – (FD) Finn Harps 3-0 Salthill Devon (Clarke, McHugh, Curtis)
31/03/2012 – (FD) Waterford United 0-2 Finn Harps (Tracey, Waterford o.g.)
26/03/2012 – (LC) Finn Harps 2-0 Mayo League (Mayo o.g., McHugh)
24/03/2012 – (FD) Finn Harps 0-1 Wexford Youths
16/03/2012 – (FD) Athlone Town 2-0 Finn Harps
10/03/2012 – (FD) Finn Harps 4-3 Mervue United (Clarke, McHugh 2, McMonagle)
02/03/2012 – (FD) Limerick 2-1 Finn Harps (Clarke)
FD = First Division; LC = League Cup; FC = FAI Cup