Harps take Sligo Rovers duo on loan

Finn Harps hope to have two loan signings from Sligo Rovers as part of their matchday squad for Saturday’s long journey to take on Wexford Youths.

Finn Harps hope to have two loan signings from Sligo Rovers as part of their matchday squad for Saturday’s long journey to take on Wexford Youths.

After Harps failed to get in a pair of individuals from the Reading Youth Academy last week, manager Peter Hutton and director of football Felix Healy have moved to sign striker Mark McGoldrick and central midfielder Barry O’Mahoney. Rovers manager Paul Cook is eager for the players to gain first-team experience and both will be with the Ballybofey club until the end of the campaign.

Nineteen-year-old McGoldrick made senior appearances last season, scoring his first goal for Rovers in the FAI Cup win over Monaghan United. The former Summerhill College student was the A team and U-20’s and previously played his youth football with Ballisodare United and Merville United.

The 21-year-old O’Mahoney has been capped by Ireland at U-15 level. He played most of his youth football with Strand Celic and then joined Belvedere before returning to Sligo last summer to join Sligo Rovers. He made his debut for Cook’s side in the Setanta Cup game against Cork City the year before last.

Harps were due to send the registrations to the Football Association of Ireland this morning and will require clearance for the players by Friday evening. Healy also added the club are close to signing a winger who currently plays in the Ulster Senior League but added nothing will be confirmed until next week.

“Paul Cook wants the two lads to get games and we are trying to get them through in time for the game against Wexford on Saturday,” Healy said. “Hopefully we will hear on Friday they are good to go but you never know with the FAI.”

Harps were well beaten last Saturday against Shelbourne and the lack of match fitness from the evolving squad was apparent particularly late in the game when Philip Hughes and David Cassidy added to Conan Byrne’s opener in the 3-0 loss. The major disappointment for Healy was the way in which the players let their heads drop in a demoralising final quarter-hour.

“The second goal was a killer,” he added. “Last week was the first time in the lead-up to a game we got a chance to work on set-pieces and Stephen O’Donnell was vital part of that.

“To lose Stephen after 20 minutes disrupted us. It was a massive blow. From then on we did okay, considering who were playing but the second goal ruined us. I thought after that we lost our belief and our shape and that was as disappointing as anything.

“Myself and Peter have been here for three months now and we are constantly learning about individuals and last week was certainly part of that.”

The Ferrycarrig Park encounter is Harps’ last before a free weekend and they resume against Mervue United a fortnight on Saturday. Healy and Hutton must be looking forward to that game as there are a number of absentees this weekend. O’Donnell suffered a hamstring strain that forced him to leave the field last week after just 16 minutes following an enterprising opening and is out.

Packie Mailey was due to have an x-ray yesterday on a broken bone in a foot and remains the player likely to be out for the longest time, in his case another month at least. Paddy McLaughlin’s hamstring injury is not as bad as first feared but too remains sidelined, while Hutton and John Paul Gallagher will be glad to have got back in action.

Another man who might be involved at the weekend is James Doherty, who has been absent for the last month with a medial ligament injury, while Marc Brolly, who had a slight hamstring injury, is back from honeymoon and was expected to train last night. Kevin McHugh can boost Harps up front with a comeback from suspension.

The managerial team of Hutton and Healy have now seen their side in action against every other side in the First Division. Their opening game in charge was a home loss to Wexford, when Danny Furlong scored a fine winner five minutes from time in May.

“That was a bit of a smash and grab win but we were just in the door and there were a couple of young lads on the bench beside us whose name we didn’t even know at that stage,” Healy added.

“We hope to have everyone available for the next game, against Mervue United, barring probably Packie Mailey. At the minute, our physio here Mickey McGlynn is quite a busy man but hopefully we will have a positive selection headache by the time of the Mervue game.”

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