BY CHRIS MCNULTY
FINN Harps are keen to extend the loan deal for Sligo Rovers striker Ruairi Keating beyond the end of June.
The 18-year-old has scored five goals this season for Harps having agreed to make a loan move back in February. The terms of the initial deal take Keating up until the summer transfer window but with that now just three games away, Harps are anxious to secure his services until the end of the season.
Harps manager Ollie Horgan spoke with his Sligo counterpart Ian Baraclough when the teams played a friendly last Tuesday at The Showgrounds.
“It’s out of our hands but of course we would love him to stay,” said Horgan, who admitted that an extension remained ‘in doubt’.
“Ruairí has a lot to learn but he’s been a breath of fresh air for us. He’s done quite well but has a long way to go.
“Whether he is ready for the Premier Division with Sligo Rovers is really up to them.
“My angle on it would be a longer stint with us may progress the lad that bit better.
“He has potential but that’s all it is at the moment.”
Sligo themselves have not been setting the world alight in the Premier Division with the Bit O’Red fourteen points off leaders Dundalk.
With Sligo set to compete in the Europa League this summer and with Baraclough unlikely to take a punt on the youngster – who played under Horgan previously with the Republic of Ireland schoolboys team – Harps are confident of brokering a deal.
Harps take on Belgrove/Home Farm this Friday in the FAI Ford Cup second round at Frank Cooke Park on Dublin’s Griffith Avenue. Seven days later Longford Town visit Finn Park in the League before a two-week break is followed by a home game against Waterford United that is Harps’ last before the shutters go up on the window.
Meanwhile, following a sixth red card in nine games, Horgan has urged his players to cut down their card count. His comments come after Tommy Bonnar was sent off during Friday’s two-all draw against Wexford Youths – the third game in a row where Harps have had a man dismissed.
Bonnar was dismissed with his side 2-1 in arrears, but Packie Mailey’s late equaliser secured a point.
“We’ve enough difficulties against these side without the multiple yellow and red cards,” Horgan said.
“It’s not the first time it’s happened but please God hopefully it’s the last. That’s a corner that we need to turn.”
Having been 2-0 down against the League’s second placed team, Horgan was delighted with the response of his men.
He said: “It was certainly a point gained.
“It’s the best Wexford side I’ve seen and they are up where they are for a reason.”
“We struggled to get into the game and didn’t start playing till our backs were against the wall and went down a man.
“That seems to be the run of things at the moment. We don’t seem capable of getting started till things go against us.”