Finn Harps boss Murphy has “no fear” in giving 15-year-old talent a chance

Gavin McAteer will miss visit to Cork due to Junior Cert commitments

Pacemaker Press.


Dungannon Fc v Glenavon Fc, in the Sports Direct Irish League Premiership 
Darren Murphy during this afternoons  game at Stangmore Park in Dungannon.  

Photo by Alan Weir/Pacemaker Press
Finn Harps manager Darren Murphy (Alan Weir/Alan Weir/Pacemaker Press)

SSE Airtricity First Division: Cobh Ramblers v Finn Harps (Friday, 7.45pm)

Finn Harps’ youngest ever player to feature in a league game will miss out on Friday evening’s trip to Cobh Ramblers - because he is doing his Junior Certificate exams.

Fifteen-year-old Gavin McAteer certainly made an impact when he came on as a substitute in Monday’s 1-1 draw with Athlone Town.

He set up the equaliser and went close to setting up a chance for what could have been a winning goal in stoppage time.

However, manager Darren Murphy knows that the youngster needs to be carefully managed and protected, especially when you are thrust into action at this level.

And education must come before football, so as the team heads south on the 600-mile round trip, the Milford teenager will be sitting an exam.

“The boy wants to learn,” Murphy continued.

“I have no fear in putting him on. He has a chance and is at a good club with good people. We just have to be careful with him. He came on against Athlone for 14 minutes and impacted the game in a cameo role.

“I have a lot of belief in the kid. I’m delighted for him to. He will remember his first game at Finn Park.”

McAteer had made his debut the previous week away to Kerry, aged 15 years and 327 days.

Having picked up a point against third placed Athlone - the in-form team in the league - Murphy is hopeful now that Harps can follow up on this and get a decent result in Cobh.

This is the third meeting of the sides this season with the Cork side having won on the two previous occasions.

Cobh lie seventh and are in danger of getting cut adrift of the sides battling for promotion play-off spaces.

“We will go there and have our usual application and attitude. I tell the players all the time that the two things they can control are their attitude and work-rate,” Murphy said.

“It will be difficult, we will leave around 9am on Friday morning and return around 6am on Saturday. Having played on Monday, it is demanding. I gave the players Tuesday off and we trained on Wednesday.

“I doubt any other team in the country will be going through what we do on Friday but it is something we all signed up for. What I know is that whatever team I put out I will get a committed performance.