BY CHRIS MCNULTY AT FINN PARK
OLLIE Horgan had warned that Finn Harps would face stern opposition in Galway FC and his words rang true on Saturday night when he was thankful for Paul McVeigh’s intervention to preserve Harps’ unbeaten start to the season.
Horgan had no complaints about the result on a night when Galway were on top, even when Derek O’Brien was sent off just 26 minutes in.
“Galway are a very decent side and they went with an experienced side with not too many young fellas out there,” Horgan said.
“They’d a seasoned team with experience. Even though they went down to 10 men, we’re still happy to get out of it with something.
“The sending off worked in their favour to an extent, which sounds a bit mad. They sat back and hit us on the break with 10 men and they’re very effective at that. They’ve players that can do it, hold it up with the likes of Vinny Faherty.
“It was obviously a disadvantage to them but they managed it very well. I’d say they’re probably disappointed.
“Galway deserved to be in front, they had the better of the chances. Ruairí Keating had a guilt-edged chance and Conor Gleeson made the save – I’m not sure how much he knew about it – but it was the only out and out chance we had. Conor Winn had to smother a few and come out with his feet another time.
“We’d no complaints at half-time. We didn’t play well enough.”
That chance for Keating was the on-loan Sligo man’s second pop at goal. Earlier, from the free kick awarded when O’Brien was sent off for some verbals after fouling James Doherty, Keating beat Gleeson, only to see his header cleared off the line by Martin Conneely.
Just before the break, he did well to turn in a teasing Carel Tiofack cross, but it was too close to Gleeson, whose reactions were lightening quick to make the save.
McVeigh was the man to profit when Horgan went for broke late in the day and yet there was still the nagging feeling that his side might have won it.
Horgan said: “The disappointing thing was when we got the equaliser, I thought we might’ve kicked on and got a winner but that didn’t happen. We were struggling in the last eight or nine minutes to hold out for a draw, which was worrying.
“We rode our luck again. We’re at home here, not in Terryland (Eamonn Deacy Park) where a 1-1 would be a great result, or next week when we’re away to Shelbourne. A draw would be excellent. We didn’t deserve more than a point.”
Horgan also praised the Finn Park crowd on Saturday when an attendance of 727 came through the turnstiles.
In April, Harps have just one home game – Wexford Youths – with away trips to Shelbourne, Longford and Cobh.
The Harps boss said: “It was good to get the crowd. We’ve only Wexford at home next month and are on the road a lot. To be fair to the crowd they were patient and maybe in other years people would’ve got frustrated on and off the pitch but we were patient ourselves – albeit with only a point.”
Keating will be suspended for Friday’s trip to Dublin to take on Shelbourne. Sean McCarron remains sidelined with a fractured cheekbone and captain Kevin McHugh is still doubtful because of a hamstring injury.
Horgan said: “It leaves an opportunity for someone else who is training hard.”
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