BY CHRIS MCNULTY
MICHAEL Funston and Ciaran Coll will miss Finn Harps’ trip to Drogheda tonight for the FAI Ford Cup quarter-final replay at Hunky Dory’s Park (kick-off 7.45pm).
Funston was a close contender for the Man of the Match award in Friday’s drawn encounter, but the experienced 28-year old midfielder will not be aboard the team bus today due to work commitments.
A care worker with the HSE, the short turnaround has enforced his unavailability.
Coll misses out through a suspension as a result of his red card in Friday’s game.
Coll and Funston played in the wide berths in a five-man midfield on Friday night.
Sean McCarron’s return from suspension is a boost, while Harps are hoping that Thomas McMonagle shakes off a knock to a foot.
Lee Toland and Mark Forker will be pushing for places, as will noted attacker McCarron.
Harps captain Kevin McHugh has urged his team-mates to take belief from Friday’s game in Ballybofey.
With the semi-final pairings to be decided before Harps kick-off, there will be a real incentive to both sides tonight in Co Louth.
McHugh said: “We have to keep our head up though as we are still in the quarter-finals. We’re definitely not out of the cup yet.
“Anyone here would’ve agreed Harps deserved to won the game.”
Manager Peter Hutton will adopt a defensive-based formation tonight again. The Derry native was fulsome in his praise of his side’s effort on Friday.
He said: “They battled gamely, everyone deserves credit.
“I’m gutted for them. Drogheda got a late equaliser and know they got out of jail.
“They’re still favourites but were favourites coming here as well.
“I thought the boys were exceptional and they did themselves proud.
“We’re bitterly disappointed we didn’t see it through till the end and get ourselves into the semi-final. But it’s not over yet. We will go again on Monday night.
“To a man they battled and gave a great account of themselves.
“They’re shattered in there, mentally as much as physically given that they were so close.
“But we can’t be too despondent as we’re still in the cup.”
Harps had the winning post in sight, only to lose grip of it for the second Cup tie in a row, after Cobh Ramblers netted a last-gasp equaliser in the previous round.
McHugh said: “It’s heart-wrenching losing a game like that in the last couple of minutes.
“We controlled it for a long time. Even when we were down to ten men we were comfortable in our shape.
“There was a great crowd there with a great atmosphere and that was the Finn Park of old from what I remember when I was younger.
“We could easily have gone two up and then they go up and score within seconds.”