Finn Harps players celebrate with Luke Rudden following his first goal for the club. Photo Thomas Gallagher
Luke Rudden wants to kick on from his first senior goal at Finn Harps - and will have a busy winter to ready himself for 2022.
Rudden scored the fifth goal on Friday as Harps hammered Longford Town 5-0 to retain their Premier Division status.
The 19-year-old signed his first pro contract in September and is on the books for next year. Rudden has scored four goals in the Ulster Senior League this season already and the Malin Head man will feature with the Stephen McNutt-managed Harps Under-21s in the USL over the next couple of months. They play Bonagee United this evening at Dry Arch Park.
“I can’t wait to get started again next season,” Rudden told Donegal Live. “We’ll get a wee rest in December from the first team, but I’ll still be playing in the Ulster Senior League. We’ll go at it again for next season and hopefully get a bit more game time.”
Harps were leading 4-0 after goals from Will Seymore, Ryan Connolly, Karl O’Sullivan and Tunde Owolabi. Two minutes into added time, Rudden took a pass from O’Sullivan and fired home.
He said: “It was unreal. My dad was here to watch as well so that makes it more special again.
“I got the nod. The ball came to me and I was only doing one thing. Mark Timlin was giving out to me for not squaring it, but I was only going to shoot.”
Rudden, a former Sea Rovers and Carndonagh FC underage player, signed for Finn Harps Under-15s and progressed to Under-17 and Under-19 levels.
His senior debut arrived in a win over St Patrick’s Athletic in June and the Inishowen teenager feels the progress. He said: “It was a lot of learning. Tunde was our top scorer and Adam Foley is some finisher too. They’re good players and you learn a lot from players like that. Every training season, never mind every match, is a learning experience.”
Harps went into Friday’s game Knowing that a win over Longford would secure their place in the top flight.
Ollie Horgan’s men turned on the style against the already-relegated Longford.
Rudden said: “It looked like domination really. They didn’t have much to test us. We snuffed (Aodh) Dervin out at the start of the game and that set the tone. The boys in midfield did that. Fair play to the crowd, they came out in their numbers and they were heard 100 per cent.”
bmc.ie Ulster Senior League fixtures
Thursday, November 25, 8pm
Bonagee United v Finn Harps Under-21s
Sunday, November 28
Derry City v Bonagee United
Letterkenny Rovers v Cockhill Celtic
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