Ollie Horgan and his side will be hoping to end a miserable week on a high for Finn Harps when they host Leinster Senior League side Crumlin United in the FAI Cup at Finn Park on Saturday evening.
It’s been a truly forgettable week for Horgan and Harps who lost heavily in games against Dundalk and St. Patrick’s Athletic and shipped eleven goals in the process.
After Dundalk put seven past Harps last Friday night at Finn Park, St. Pat’s followed it up with a 4-0 win in Inchicore on Tuesday night to cap off a few days that all at the club will want to forget about in a hurry.
“It was difficult to take too many positives from the Pat’s game bar getting through game without too many more injuries,” said Harps boss Horgan as the reflected on the midweek trip to Dublin.
“We looked tired but to be fair to St.Pat’s they kept possession well and made us work very hard to try win the ball back,” he said.
“It is difficult enough away from home without conceding again so early,” continued Horgan who watched as the team leaked an early goal for the second game in a row. “We got ourselves back into the game but second goal before half time really set us back.
And even though Crumlin United might be a non-league side, Horgan is well aware of the threat that they pose. The Harps boss was in the Aviva Stadium last Saturday evening to watch his Cup opponents beat Letterkenny Rovers 5-0 in the FAI Intermediate Cup Final.
“Crumlin are the best Intermediate side in the country for last number of years,” says Horgan.
“They possess players that the top sides in the league would love to have. They play great football and Martin Loughran has put together a great mixture of experience and youthful pace. They have the likes of Shane Supple in goals who spent a number of years with Ipswich Town. Gavin Kavanagh has played in a successful Cork City side.
“They have the back bone of Gerry Smiths Regions Cup winning team as well as players that have represented Ireland at the World Student Games,” continued Horgan.
This will be the third meeting of the two sides in the Cup and, like Saturday night’s game, the previous two encounters also took place at Finn Park. Ten years ago, it took a free-kick from player-manager Anthony Gorman, to book Harps’ passage to the last sixteen after Crumlin had dominated for much of the game.
Six years ago, the two sides met again at the same stage of the competition but this time the game was over as a contest by the 20th minute as early goals from Packie Mailey and a Kevin McHugh brace handed Harps a 3-0 victory.
Harps have never lost to a non-league team at home in the Cup. However, on the road, they have tasted defeat against Cobh Ramblers (then a non-league side) in 1983 and Wayside Celtic in 1997. CIE-Mosney, in 1983, are the only non-league side to have managed a draw at Finn Park before Harps would eventually progress after a second replay.