Finn Harps primed for St Pat's visit
FINN Harps are good enough to stay up in the Airtricity League Premier Division - that's the view of now retired ex-BBC Radio Foyle sports presenter and former player Richie Kelly ahead of their important game against St Patrick's Athletic at Finn Park tonight. (Kick-off 8.00 pm).
The game - which was rescheduled having been postponed last week - ties in with the Donegal club's 50th anniversary celebrations.
And numerous former players and managers will be in attendance in Ballybofey this evening, including the league's all-time leading scorer, Derry native Brendan Bradley.
Kelly played in the club's first ever game at senior level - a 10-2 drubbing at the hands of Shamrock Rovers in the long defunct Dublin City Cup.
“I'm really looking forward to Friday night,” he said.
“There will be one or two players there that I haven't seen in a long time so that's going to be special. And I know that there are going to be players there, from right through the last 50 years.
''Everyone of them has played their part in keeping Finn Harps afloat in the League of Ireland so it's great now that we will have that opportunity to be together.
“The other thing that is very important is that this is a very big match for the present Harps team against St Pat's.
So it would be really great to see a big crowd at Finn Park because I know they don't have a home game again until early October,” he added.
Looking to the future, he said it's vital that Harps prosper for the good of Donegal football: “It's very important now for Finn Harps Football Club to prosper into the future. I have to say that the job Ollie Horgan and Paul Hegarty are doing with the team is a great credit to them.
''They have come up with that rally of big results recently which leaves Harps well positioned to get into the play-offs. And I certainly think they can survive in the Premier Division,” he said.
Harps Secretary John Campbell added: “This is a very big match for us against Pat's and it's our first home game in five weeks and we're not back in Finn Park again for another month,” he noted.
Harps go into the game in second bottom spot, six points ahead of basement occupiers and the Donegal club has played a game less.
They look well positioned to get the relegation play-off spot, and are seven points adrift of Cork City.
St Patrick's Athletic come to Ballybofey with Stephen O'Donnell - the former Dundalk player - now installed as manager, having taken over from Harry Kenny.
Pat's still have an outside chance of a European spot so will be looking for the three points while Harps will be hoping to rediscover the form that led to three wins on the spin before losing to Shamrock Rovers in the FAI Cup and Dundalk in the league in their last two outings.
In the three previous meetings between the sides this season, the Saints have won twice while their first encounter ended in a draw.