Finn Harps 2 Drumkeen United 1
By Chris McNulty at The Finn Valley Centre
SOMETIMES in football you just have to go with the gut instinct.
Finn Harps manager Ollie Horgan could be seen grappling with his thoughts as he assessed the display of the on-trial seventeen-year old Daryl Carrigy following an encouraging, goalscoring display in a 2-1 friendly win over Ulster Senior League side Drumkeen United on Wednesday night.
Carrigy’s goal, the match-winner, came seven minutes from the end of the contest and was exquisit in its execution, a delightful finish over the head of the advanced Paul McCauley having sprung onto a long ball.
Carrigy remains on the books of Derby County, though the youngster has returned home to Longford since just before Christmas.
“He’s still with them, but they’re happy to let him out on loan if we can give him game time,” Horgan said.
“He’s a good bit of stuff but he’s very young. We will talk to him and see how we get on.
“Daryl has been over at Derby. He’s only a young lad and he’s looking to go out on loan. He showed why he was over there, although he is very young. He has a lot to learn.”
It is pretty much on this performance alone that Horgan will have to make a call, given that the window for such signings closes on Friday-week, January 31. On the evidence of what he viewed, age should not be the barrier.
Time is not on his side.
“Any player who is with another club who needs either a transfer or a clearance has to be signed by next Friday – and all of the players we had there are with other clubs.
“We’ll be aiming to get a panel of around 22, so we’ll be letting players go, signing some others and possibly taking more in.
“We don’t have another friendly until after the deadline, but we will try to get eleven-versus-eleven games in training to have a look.”
Carrigy was eager to impress from the off and was Harps’ most involved player in a game they won thanks to the youngster’s clinical strike, just ninety seconds after Nathan Boyle, another trialist whom Horgan had spied playing with the Derry City D&D team on Sunday morning, had cancelled out Eunan Kelly’s 72nd minute opener.
Tall striker Boyle was given a run, as was Gerard O’Callaghan, a native of Clones in County Monaghan who has played in the First Division previously with UCD.
O’Callaghan’s performance was another of the bright points on a cool night in Stranorlar. With some nifty touches, O’Callaghan caught the eye in the first half while operating in the middle of the park, before switching to put in a competent display at left-back for the second period.
Horgan said: “Gerard was capped at schools level around six years ago and played for UCD the year they got promoted under Martin Russell. He has been in junior football since. He’s a bit off the pace, so we’ll see if he can get back to the pace.”
This was a useful run out for both sides, with Drumkeen showing new faces like goalkeeper Stephen Conroy, formerly of Cockhill Celtic, as well as Convoy youngster Dean Bonner and Strabane native Tiernan McMullan.
Anthony Appiah was another of the new Harps faces and it was he who forced the first save of the day from Conroy in the 11th minute. Carrigy and Appiah were involved quite a bit in that first period, but the best chance of the half fell to Boyle, who shot tamely at Conroy after Appiah had foraged well to set up the opening.
The customary raft of half-time changes followed and it was Carrigy who impressed the natives in the second half.
With a clever first touch on the hour, the youngster worked a chance but shot at replacement netminder McCauley before Boyle blasted off target having been put through by a long throw-in by James Doherty.
Richard Moore flashed wide with a reminder that Drumkeen – under Niall McGonagle’s direction as manager Mickey Rodgers was in England working – weren’t going quietly.
The St Patrick’s Park side, last year’s League and Cup runners-up in the USL, took the lead when Kelly rose to head home an inch-perfect Benny Bonner corner.
Boyle shot at McCauley when the chance, teed up by Gary Merritt, was screaming for a lob over the ‘keeper.
Harps score a win thanks to a quickfire turnaround, Boyle levling and Carrigy earning Ollie Horgan his first win as manager of a Finn Harps team.
Horgan confirmed that he is still in talks with Conor Winn, a goalkeeper who played in last Saturday’s friendly against Cockhill Celtic, with a view to signing for the club. Winn couldn’t play on Wednesday night because of an injury sustained against Cockhill, but Horgan said: “He is still very much in our plans.”
The Harps boss has invited in ‘a couple of goalkeepers to have a look at’ this weekend, among them believed to be Shane Redmond, last on the books of Bray Wanderers at the tail end of the 2013 season.
Finn Harps: Shaun Patton; James Doherty, Ryan Shields, Shaun McGowan, Jonny Bonner; Gerard O’Callaghan, Aaron Harkin, Gareth Harkin; Daryl Carrigy, Nathan Boyle, Anthony Appiah. Subs: Micheál Doherty for G.Harkin (7 mins); Gary Merritt, Michael Funston, Brian McVeigh, Matthew Henry and Shane Buchanan for M.Doherty, A.Harkin, McGowan, Appiah and Bonner (all half-time).
Drumkeen United: Stephen Conroy; Gavin Reilly, Eunan Carroll, Michael Carroll, Benny Bonner; Gary Patton, Philip Whyte, Dean Bonner, Peter McNamee; Conor Carlin, Ronan Coyle. Subs: Tiernan McMullan for Patton (26 mins); Justin Deasley for Reilly (32 mins); Reilly and Paul McCauley for Deasley and Conroy (half-time); Richard Moore for McNamee (52 mins); McNamee and Patton for McMullan and Coyle (86 mins).
Referee: Stephen Toner.