Ollie Horgan says his players need to be fully focused in order to get even a draw against UCD at the Belfield Bowl tomorrow night (kick-off 7.45) in a very important League of Ireland First Division game for the visitors. It might be early in the season but Horgan says that Harps need a result to keep in touch with the leading teams.
“We’ve been planning for the UCD game since our game was called off against Galway last Friday. The fact that UCD lost away in Drogheda last Friday makes them an even more dangerous opposition for us tomorrow night. Our lads have been left in doubt that we’ll have to work hard for the 90 plus minutes to get even a draw at Belfield. UCD have been building a team over the past three or four years and the likes of Georgie Kelly from Inishowen as well as Daire O’Connor and Gary O’Neill are lads I think will move onto bigger clubs down the line,” Horgan said.
UCD had been outright leaders going into last weekend’s fixtures but defeat against Drogheda saw both the Louth outfit and Shelbourne join them on 13 points from six games played.
Harps are fourth on eight points but with a game in hand on the teams above them apart from Galway. Ollie Horgan has saw his side lose just once away from home in the campaign to date and that was when his team was down to 10 men for most of the away game Drogheda.
Harps have injury worries over Keith Cowan (groin), Paddy McCourt (calf) and Ciaran O’Connor (ankle). Gareth Harkin and Liam Walsh both remain out with knee problems.
Injured: Gareth Harkin, Liam Walsh
Doubtful: Keith Cowan, Paddy McCourt, Ciaran O’Connor
Despite the disappointment of last week’s defeat against Drogheda United, UCD remain joint top of the league separated only by goal difference from leaders Drogheda, after taking thirteen points from our opening six games of the season. Speaking ahead of this week’s game, Collie O’Neill is looking for his side to bounce straight back against Finn Harps and look to get back to winning ways.
“Last week’s result was disappointing, although I thought we played quite well, we weren’t clinical enough with the chances we did manage to create. Drogheda were a big threat going forward, and were very dangerous breaking with pace. It is important now that we focus on another tough game to come on Friday night, and look to get back to winning ways.”
This will be the first time UCD have faced Finn Harps since our playoff defeat back in 2016, and both sides will be confident of coming away with the three points. It has been a good start to the season so far for the Students, with four wins, a draw and just the single defeat from the opening six games.
Meanwhile, Daire O’Connor and Jason McClelland both started for the Irish Colleges and Universities side on Monday in their 1-0 victory over the Scottish Universities side, with Daire O’Connor grabbing the all-important winner early in the first half with a good finish. Liam Scales also came off the bench at half time to make his debut for the side.
UCD will be without Evan Osam (ankle) and Neil Farrugia (broken collarbone) once more for the game as they continue their recoveries, however Greg Sloggett is available once more after making his return last Friday night coming from the bench.
Injured: Evan Osam (ankle), Neil Farrugia (broken collarbone)