Finn Harps Director of Football Felix Healy was understandably downbeat having seen his team lose out to Wexford Youths but claimed he was glad the cracks weren’t papered over in the 1-0 defeat.
Alan Foley was at Finn Park
Photos: Brian McDaid
Healy returned to Finn Park this week where he will work alongside Peter Hutton in a bid to revive the flagging prospects of the Ballybofey club, who currently sit second from bottom of Airtricity First Division, without a win in 10 outings this season.
Danny Furlong’s neatly-taken goal four minutes from time was well-executed as the centre-forward was the only player on the pitch alive to Ben Ryan’s centre with Harps defenders standing and staring.
The goal must have taken a few miles of the south-easterners lengthy trek home but the final whistle was greeted with silence. Harps’ performance was spirited and enthusiastic and the management team will have more than the one day to prepare for this weekend’s trip to Mervue United.
Former Derry City manager Healy was forthright in his appraisals and stressed that he and Hutton will need time to get the largely inexperienced squad back on track.
“You don’t need me to say they are very young and in many ways very naive,” Healy said.
“We conceded a very bad goal and it was one of the things we talked about on Wednesday night - the manner in which we conceded that goal. We were all over the place.
“A lot of the players are learning the game and at the minute they are learning a lot of harsh lessons. We have to work that little bit harder but we’ve learned a great deal in the three days we’ve been here and we learned a lot tonight. There is no quick fix but we will fix it. It will not be in the next week or two, but we will fix it.”
The footballing fraternity in the north-west were optimistic approaching the encounter with Wexford Youths, who themselves had only three points this term. However, Paul Furlong’s goal was enough to win the game for the side from the sunny south-east.
“Everyone came here tonight and expected a good result but I think Wexford probably deserved to win the match,” Healy added.
“We would have loved the three points but if we had got them then everyone would’ve thought that it’s rosy in the garden and it certainly isn’t.
“The difficulty at this minute in time is that there are a number of players who are injured. I thought Christy Connaghan was excellent and he’s not 100 per cent fit. There are one or two problems in terms of getting the best out of players. They are full of energy but a lot of them are wasting their energy all over the place but as I said, it’s a learning process. We need someone like Peter Hutton out there.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for youth and always have been but youth needs to learn off old hands and that’s not happening here. Lining up a team tonight was difficult. I like 4-4-2, but having spoken to a number of people and learned the only time Harps played it this season was in Cork where they got hit for five. I will soon play 4-4-2 here, home and away.
“I always felt that Wexford was going to be a very difficult match after all that happened during the week and that’s human nature. I’ve always said that good players make a good manager.
“We have a lot of talented players here but whether they are all good enough for senior football is debatable. It’s best to put in two or three at one time if you have the older hands. I feel sorry for some of those kids in there, trying to learn their education in football. There are so many things that Peter and I spotted. We have our work cut out for us.”
The trend of the first 45 minutes continued into the second and two minutes into part two, Harps goalkeeper Ciaran Gallagher had to make a firm save following a fine strike from outside the area from Ryan, who picked Cowan’s pockets to gain a sight at goal.
Three minutes before the hour-mark, the bedecked in pink Packie Holden in the Wexford goal was called into action for the first time when Tommy Bonner’s second bite of the cherry forced him to save with his feet. Marc Brolly blasted just over from a dropping ball soon after.
The best chance of the evening arrived on 70 minutes when a fine through ball from Danny Furlong caught the Harps’ defence as straight as a ruler and Grincell scampered into space. Gallagher instantly moved to close the angle and made a good save in what had developed into a potentially profitable one-on-one situation.
Finn Harps; Ciaran Gallagher; James Doherty, Packie Mailey, Keith Cowan, Ciaran Coll; Christy Connaghan, Mark Forker (Garbhan Friel 70), Paddy McLaughlin, Mark Brolly; Thomas Bonner, Kevin McHugh.
Wexford Youths: Packie Holden; Gareth McCurtin, Karl Keogh, Martin Kehoe, Dean Broaders; Craig Wall, Ben Ryan, Shane Nolan, Paul Malone; David Grincell (Darragh Walsh 90), Danny Furlong.
Referee: Paul McLaughlin.