Finn Harps kick off their 2020 season with a North West Derby this Friday night when Sligo Rovers come to town. Despite the recent run of bad weather the hallowed turf has held up well ahead of what is sure to be another atmospheric and keenly contested derby. Harps are offering tickets for sale online for the first time, and they are in the usual outlets around the county plus new outlets Champions Travel in Letterkenny and O'Shaughnessy’s Bar, Ramelton.
Harps boss Ollie Horgan warns that while the matchup is great for the fans it provides a huge challenge on the pitch; “Sligo are very settled in the squad they had last year. They’ll have the experience together from last year and no doubt they’ve hit the ground running from their preseason results. We have added quality but we lost a lot as well, it will take us time to play to our potential as we have players at different stages fitness wise and sharpness wise but we'll be doing our best to get a result on Friday night with what we have.”
Friday night is sure to see a few Harps players making their club debuts after comings and goings since November. One of these is ex Sligo and Galway midfielder Ryan Connolly, who is looking forward to the occasion. “I am buzzing for the first game. I’m delighted it’s at home, in a derby. These rivalry games are some of the biggest as a player and the ones you will remember long after you hang up the boots. I know Sligo’s appetite for a derby from my time there and more so with Galway and I’m sure Friday night now will be no different. I know there’ll be a great crowd in behind us and Sligo will bring their fans too so it should make for a special night”.
Harps and Sligo met 5 times last season, 4 times in the league and once in the EA Sports Cup. The last meeting came back in September when 3 quick fire first half goals saw Rovers cruising until a late, late Harps onslaught sparked by an Ascroft goal gave brief home to the traveling supporters before the game ended 3-1. In the other games Sligo recorded 2 league wins while Harps scored a 2-0 win in the league in June and a 2-1 win after extra time in the league cup. Stephen Doherty and Mark Coyle got the goals in that game- all Harps scorers in the league meetings have since departed the club. Rovers ended the season in 7th place, 14 ahead of Harps who stayed up courtesy of a hard fought playoff win over Drogheda United.
Ollie Horgan must plan without Mark Timlin who is out long term after suffering an injury in preseason, while the likes of Barry McNamee have only recently linked up with the club meaning their preparation time has been limited.
Injured: Mark Timlin
Doubtful: Shaun Kelly
FREE Supporter Bus (With thanks to Boyce Coaches)
Bus is running as follows:
Departing: Durkans Bar, Ramelton at 6:30pm
Calling at: Glencar Inn Letterkenny 6:50pm, The Pin Tavern 7pm, Dry Arch Inn 7:05pm, Rosie’s Bar Drumkeen 7:15pm.
Bus will return immediately after the game, dropping off at the same spots on the way home.
Bus is FREE, but booking is essential. Book your seat by calling or texting 087-2861557.
Harps season tickets offer excellent value with the equivalent of at least four free games. You can pick one up from the clubhouse on weekdays from 2pm-6pm. Or online from www.finnharps.ie/shop
While match tickets will be available on the night on Navenny Street and also at Chestnut Road (Aldi side), supporters are strongly advised to buy in advance from the below outlets or online from https://member.clubforce.com/finnharpstickets to avoid queues.
Champions Travel Letterkenny,
Michael Murphy Sports Letterkenny,
The Hatter, Main Street Ballybofey,
McKelvey’s Bar Ballybofey,
McCauley’s Restaurant, Lifford,
Mac’s Newsagents, Buncrana,
The Bank Bar, Diamond, Donegal Town
O'Shaughnessy’s Bar, Ramelton
Full match arrangements HERE