Harps goalkeeping woes continue as Horgan bemoans 'soft goals' in cup defeat

Eric McWoods found the net in Finn Harps' FAI Cup defeat to Bohemians on Friday night but it was problems at the other end which ultimately cost them Picture: Margaret McLaughlin

FAI Cup first round: Finn Harps 1 Bohemians 3

FINN Harps boss Ollie Horgan must be wondering just what he has to do to try and revive the club’s fortunes.

Last Thursday, he snapped up a new goalkeeper just before the transfer deadline passed for League of Ireland teams.

With regular netminder Mark Anthony McGinley falling out of favour after a number of shaky displays, the inexperienced Gavin Mulreany was given some game time in recent weeks.

But Horgan felt he needed someone stronger to cope with the battle to stay in the top flight during the months ahead.

And so he signed up James McKeown, a 33-year-old goalkeeper who had been released by Grimsby Town, having made more than 470 appearances for the club.

But the move backfired spectacularly.

McKeown, who won a couple of caps at U19 level for the Republic of Ireland, started in Friday night’s FAI Cup first round game against Bohemians at Finn Park.

But the new arrival was at fault for two of the goals in the 3-1 home defeat.

Declan McDaid had put the Dublin side ahead in the 19th minute.

With 42 minutes on the clock, McKeown, admittedly under pressure, was unable to hold a cross and the ball fell for Josh Kerr to score from close range.

Harps got some brief respite on the stroke of half-time when Eric McWoods pulled one back on a counter-attack.

But two minutes into the second half, McKeown was in bother again as his attempt to tip over a cross went totally wrong and the ball fell into the path of Junior Ogedi Uzokwe to make it 3-1 and effectively seal the issue.

Horgan acknowledged that the goals they had conceded were “very soft” and he is now left with an unwanted dilemma regarding who will start in goals for their league game against Drogheda on Friday.

Understandably, he chose his words carefully in relation to the goalkeeping errors, and opted to take a wider view of things.

“It’s hugely disappointing week after week to concede goals from mistakes,” he said.

He added that the goalkeeping position has cost them goals this season, but there have also been mistakes in other positions.

“You can’t just point it at the last line of defence. We have tried to shake it up and please God it will work in the long run. People who are not in the team will have to work harder and come back better. We need people to react and to get themselves into better nick rather than doing the easy thing and throwing the towel at it, which I don’t think they will.”

This defeat means Harps have now gone 12 games without a win, and worrying from a financial point of view, the fans are beginning to vote with their feet. The official attendance for this cup tie was less than 1,000, of which more than 300 were travelling fans.

Finn Harps: McKeown; Rainey, Tourish, Slevin, Boyle; Boylan (Duncan, 75 mins), Connolly; McWoods, McNamee (Timlin, 81 mins), Mihaljevic (Rudden, 85 mins); Jones.

Bohemians: Ryan; Doherty, Kerr, Kelly, Burke; Burt (Twardeck, 67 mins), Clarke, Flores (Levingston, 75 mins), McDaid (Coote, 67 mins); O’Sullivan; Junior Ogedi Uzokwe (Varian, 75 mins).

Referee: R. Harvey (Dublin)