BY CHRIS MCNULTY AT FINN PARK
OLLIE Horgan has reminded us on more than one occasion this season that his side won’t be found wanting when it comes to effort.
From his vantage point in the upper deck of the Finn Park pressbox on Friday night, Horgan – serving the first of a two-game touchline suspension – was pleased with the endeavour shown by his players.
Horgan demands that his men empty the tank. ‘Work, work, work’ was the constant cry from the Harps manager during a 0-0 draw with Galway FC.
And even if his side are struggling in the goalscoring department, Horgan has hailed the commitment of those he has at his disposal. With Ruairi Keating’s loan move from Sligo Rovers not being renewed and Marc Brolly declining to make the move to Ballybofey, Horgan is short on attacking options.
“I have made more phonecalls than enough and have spoke to a number of people,” the Harps manager said when asked if he remained hopeful of making additions to his side during the transfer window.
“It’s difficult. People are here for very little reimbursement.
“You can see what’s there: great men with great pride who travel the country 33 weeks of the year with a one-week break.
“There are times when I’d be critical of them and say that we need to get more out of them. Not at this stage of the season where they go three nights a week to training and they travel the country, going up and down to Cobh on the one day and missing a half a day at work for no reimbursement. Yes, there might be better players around the country who don’t want to be here. I don’t want anyone who doesn’t want to be here.”
Friday’s was the third time in their last five matches that Harps haven’t scored, although they kept a clean sheet fourth clean sheet in a row – a fifth in six going back to the 1-0 FAI Cup win over Belgrove/Home Farm.
Horgan said after Friday’s stalemate: “We have a small panel. You could see that they were disappointed at the end of the game. They played well and they’re together.
“Yes, maybe we have a lack of goalscoring. Ruairi Keating scored six and played on Thursday night for Sligo Rovers out in Norway against Rosenborg.
“Of course he’s a loss to us, but we wish him well. What a move for him. It’s mighty and it’s great to see him go back and make a step up. There isn’t anything wrong with what we have up front, bar a bit of luck.
“We will go back on Monday night and w’ll keep practising. We will keep at what we are at and hope our luck changes. I’m not just blaming it on luck.
“It’s not for the lack of effort. We have conceded one goal in five games and scored two. That sums it up.
“That (performance against Galway) was better because we got in there and we looked like we’d threaten. Against Cobh we were hoping.
“We’ll go and we’ll work with what we have. They’re good lads. They have bought into what we’re trying to do. We can’t attract the likes of Ryan Connolly here, for a number of reasons. We don’t have that quality but by God we have men out there. We’ll work on it and we won’t lose heart.”
Sean McCarron came closest to winning it for Harps, cracking a superb effort off the crossbar in the 78th minute, but Horgan said: “The one he had where Carel (Tiofack) put a blindside pass through to him and he was one-on-one with Ger Hanley at an angle might have been the best chance. Ger got his legs to it. Sean made a great run and timed his run to keep onside.”
Connolly had been identified by Horgan as the Galway’s dangerman, but he was content with how his team curbed the influence of the youngster.
Horgan had deployed five across his midfield, with Damien McNulty stationed between the back four and the midfield.
Horgan said: “I know what Galway have to offer and I was quite concerned with the likes of Ryan Connolly in the middle of the field. We dealt with him until the last ten minutes, when they went 4-4-2. Ryan dictated the game game but he didn’t do before then. He’s a class footballer and we nullified him.
“We got the ball forward and Kevin held the ball up very well on his own. The chances didn’t go in but at least we made chances.
“There was a bit of everything, bar a goal. I thought both sides went at it and the game was very open in the last twenty minutes. We both went to try and win it. To be fair to Galway they didn’t hold back. They finished stronger, but to be fair I thought we had another chances that would have gone in on another day. I can’t fault the effort.”
Harps travel on Friday night to take on Shelbourne at Tolka Park minus the services of Keith Cowan, although Packie Mailey will be available, with the Convoy man not suspended as had been expected.
Horgan said: “I got it wrong with Packie, thank God. He’s available next weekend which is a positive.”
Michael Funston will serve the last game of his suspension while there was the worrying sight of Damien McNulty limping off in the second half nursing a hamstring problem on Friday night.