BY CHRIS MCNULTY
IT has been a stressful time for those trying to balance the books at Finn Park of late, but Tuesday night’s FAI Cup quarter-final replay win over Avondale United means they can rest a little easier down Navenny Street.
The 4-1 win over the Munster Senior League outfit has fired Harps into a money-spinning semi-final, the draw for which takes place on Monday evening. Alongside Harps in the pot on Monday are Shamrock Rovers, St Patrick’s Athletic and Derry City.
“It’s great to see Finn Harps back among those clubs again and it’s fantastic to see the club back on the national stage again,” Harps secretary John Campbell said.
“From a financial point of view, this is so important. It will generate a fair bit of revenue whether we’re home or away.”
These have been difficult weeks for Harps with only one of their previous six games having been at home. The away fixtures included trips to Waterford, Wexford, Cobh and Avondale. Between travel and food alone, Harps shelled out €9,000 in that period on top of the weekly wage bill.
The two home game against Shamrock Rovers B was attended by just 368 while their share of the gate for the Cup tie in Wexford amounted to ‘the mid 100s’.
Mr Campbell said: “It was a huge achievement even to get through that period and I can’t speak highly enough of the whole board. It was bad enough when we saw the League fixtures, but then the away draws in the Cup didn’t help either.”
With Harps now set to return to the national stage – the semi-finals are shown ‘live’ by RTE – some of the burden has been lifted, but the secretary has appealed for the continued support. A healthy 793 came out for Wednesday’s replay.
Mr Campbell said: “We still need support and we still need the people to get behind us. They’ll prepare well over the next few weeks and hopefully the people of Donegal will back us. We’re in the semi-finals now and the profile will be huge.”