BY AIDAN O’DONNELL
FINN Harps manager Peter Hutton believes Hugh McFadden and Shane McGinty have made the “wrong decision” to leave Finn Park for the Showground’s after the pair agreed to take up scholarships with Sligo Rovers.
The current Airtricity League Premier Division leaders have managed to snap up two of the most promising players to have been a part of the Finn Harps U19 side that won the U19 League Northern Section earlier this year.
McGinty, from St. Johnston, and McFadden, from Killybegs, have accepted scholarships with Sligo IT and will train full-time with Ian Baraclough’s side.
It comes a little over a week after Harps and LYIT linked up to put their own scholarship scheme in place and Hutton has questioned whether the two players have made the right decision.
“Sligo had approached the two lads a couple of months ago about the possibility of taking up scholarships and since then the boys have obviously been considering it. In the meantime, we’ve tried our best to persuade them to stay here but I think their heads were turned by Sligo’s approach,” said the Harps boss.
McGinty and McFadden, like many others from this season’s crop of U19’s, have been tipped as hot prospects for the future.
An attacking midfielder, McGinty has made a handful of first-team appearances this season, while McFadden, a towering centre-half, has only recently been called into the first-team squad as cover for Keith Cowan, Mark Scoltock and Thomas McMonagle.
And while acknowledging the draw of joining one of the top sides in the country was hard to turn down, Hutton believes the two players would’ve stood a better chance to shine had they remained on Navenny Street.
He added: “It’s very disappointing because we’ve been trying really hard – and will continue to do so – to nurture young players and bring them through in the right manner. No player, not even seasoned campaigners, are guaranteed first-team football with me but the one thing I will say is that they would’ve been guaranteed of getting a chance.
“In terms of their development I believe it would have been best served here. Sligo have offered them full-time training, the financial package and everything that goes with it but I think they’ve made the wrong decision, if you ask me. It’s a blow but we just have to concentrate on the players we have here and continue our progress.”