It doesn’t rain but it pours, and that is certainly true in relation to the injury crisis at Finn Park which received more shocking news this week ahead of Harps’ Friday night trip to Terryland Park to face SD Galway (kick-off 7.45pm).
Last weekend Harps crashed out of the Cup to near neighbours Derry City which, in fairness, wasn’t a shock given Harps’ record against the Candystripes.
However, the news received earlier this week that Blain Curtis’ season is over with a cruciate injury certainly was a shock. Moreso the fact that Curtis has become the third Harps player this season to suffer the injury after Stephen O’Donnell and Hugh Carlin both suffered the same season-ending injuries in the past couple of months.
“It doesn’t rain but it pours,” sighed Harps boss Peter Hutton. “It’s another massive body blow to both ourselves and to Blain. It’s a nightmare situation. We must’ve run over a thousand black cats! It’s just really, really unfortunate that we have three players that have suffered such severe injuries to keep them out for the season.”
Harps travel to Galway on Friday with a severely depleted squad. In addition to the aforementioned trio, Keith Cowan remains sidelined while Kevin McHugh and Adam Clarke continue to watch from the sidelines through suspension.
It’s the last game before the break – which can’t come quick enough for Hutton and his troops. And with the transfer window set to open on the first day of July, does Hutton see an influx of new signings?
“At the moment we’re just trying to get to the break. I don’t think it’s worthwhile rushing out and making a panic-buy. We have two games before the transfer window opens on July 1st so we’ll weigh up our options between now and then. It’s important we do what’s best for the future of the club. It’s been a tough couple of weeks and it’s important we get to the break and recharge the batteries because I firmly believe we’ll be a completely different animal after the break.
“Hopefully, we can be in a position where we can strengthen the squad but that all depends on finances,” he said. “Results have been poor of late and as a result attendances have dropped, meaning then there isn’t as much money coming into the club. It’s one big cycle. But, ideally, we’d like to bring in a few new faces.”
Hutton is also likely to be without Shane McGinty, who suffered medial ligament damage in training, but the Harps manager said he won’t hesitate to give youngsters Jordan Duffy and Gary Merritt a chance to fill the large void in attack.
“He’ll (McGinty) be assessed in the lead up to the game but we won’t throw him in, or any other player who is not a hundred percent, just to fill a void. We’re not afraid to give some of the younger guys a go. Jordan Duffy and Gary Merritt will definitely come into the equation. Both of them have done very well over the last couple of weeks.”
Harps have only played Salthill Devon twice in Galway in the past, and on each occasion have emerged victorious with clean sheets. A similar scenario on Friday would delight Hutton. The home side have yet to win a game this season, but Hutton is quick to point out that their fellow Galway side, Mervue Untied, were in a similar position when Harps made the trip three last month.
“We’re very conscious that we went to Mervue in a similar situation and that backfired on us,” acknowledged Hutton. “Tony Mannion will have them well-drilled and looking to make amends for their defeat against us (earlier in the season), when they had two men sent-off. For us, it’s a chance to put an end to a run of bad results and give ourselves a lift going into the break.”
Suspended: Kevin McHugh, Adam Clarke.
Doubtful: Shane McGinty.
Injured: Keith Cowan (double hairline fracture ankle), Stephen O’Donnell (cruciate), Hugh Carlin (cruciate), Blain Curtis (cruciate).
Form Guide (last six league games)
Finn Harps: W-L-L-L-L-L (3 pts)
SD Galway: D-L-L-L-L-L (1 pts)
Previous away games against SD Galway
21/05/2010 - Salthill Devon 0-1 Finn Harps (First Division)
25/06/2011 - Salthill Devon 0-4 Finn Harps (First Division)
Finn Harps Goalscorers 2012
Kevin McHugh – 5 (1 in League Cup)
Adam Clarke – 4
Blain Curtis – 2
Paul Simon Tracey – 2
Thomas McMonagle – 1
Thomas McBride – 1
Finn Harps Results 2012 (Harps goalscorers in brackets)
23/05/2012 – (FC) Derry City 4-0 Finn Harps
18/05/2012 – (FD) Finn Harps 0-1 Waterford United
11/05/2012 – (FD) Wexford Youths 3-0 Finn Harps
05/05/2012 – (FD) Finn Harps 1-2 Athlone Town (McHugh)
27/04/2012 – (FD) Mervue United 3-0 Finn Harps
21/04/2012 – (FD) Finn Harps 1-3 Limerick (Clarke)
14/04/2012 – (FD) Longford Town 1-3 Finn Harps (Tracey, McBride, Curtis)
09/04/2012 – (LC) Derry City 4-0 Finn Harps
06/04/2012 – (FD) Finn Harps 3-0 Salthill Devon (Clarke, McHugh, Curtis)
31/03/2012 – (FD) Waterford United 0-2 Finn Harps (Tracey, Waterford o.g.)
26/03/2012 – (LC) Finn Harps 2-0 Mayo League (Mayo o.g., McHugh)
24/03/2012 – (FD) Finn Harps 0-1 Wexford Youths
16/03/2012 – (FD) Athlone Town 2-0 Finn Harps
10/03/2012 – (FD) Finn Harps 4-3 Mervue United (Clarke, McHugh 2, McMonagle)
02/03/2012 – (FD) Limerick 2-1 Finn Harps (Clarke)
FD = First Division; LC = League Cup; FC = FAI Cup