FINN HARPS striker, Ryan Curran has enjoyed playing against Derry City more than most this season and he’s hoping to make it a hat-trick of strikes against his former club when the teams meet at Finn Park tonight. (Kick-off 8p.m.)
The 22 year-old Turasmore Park man is Harps’ leading goalscorer this season on six goals and he’s hoping he can unlock Derry’s makeshift defence once again tonight.
It’s a game I marked down at the start of the year. Being from Derry and having played for Derry it’s a big game for me personally.Ryan Curran
Harps have taken four points from two meetings with their North West rivals this season - a controversial 2-1 win on the opening day of the season and a 2-2 draw at Brandywell last May - and Curran has scored in both occasions.
He’s a proud Derry man and he’s been looking forward to locking horns with some of his former teammates for the third and final time in the league this season.
“I’m looking forward to the game,” he smiled. “It was a bit of a strange one scoring against Derry in the previous two occasions.
“But this promises to be another tough game - it’s a North West derby. The first two games were different than any other league games and the form goes out the window. So it’s whoever plays best on the night.
“The second game at Brandywell was end-to-end with chances for both teams. We did well in the first half and then in the second half we died off a bit and Derry had the majority of chances.
“But when they went 2-1 up we still showed a bit of character to come back and equalise late on.
“It was probably one of our best results of the season considering the circumstances and it was a big game for us.
“We have had some good results but in the first half it was probably one of our best 45 minutes. We probably had better 90 minutes as a whole but it was probably one of our better nights of the season.
“It’s a game I marked down at the start of the year,” he continued. “Being from Derry and having played for Derry it’s a big game for me personally.
“But you can’t get too involved in the occasion. You have to do your best to get a result. We got four points off them this year so far and hopefully we get a good, positive result on Friday night.”
Both teams need the points for different reasons with Harps dragged back into the relegation battle after recent results while City are vying to keep fourth placed Shamrock Rovers at arm’s length.
“We’ve had a few bad results and we’ve been dragged back into that relegation area so although it’s a North West derby,” continued the striker. “It’s as important for us to get three points to stay away from the bottom as it is to get a morale boosting victory over our local rivals.
“I’ve been keeping an eye in Derry and they’re playing well. It’s a massive game for both sides for different reasons and hopefully it will be a good game to watch.”
Curran insists he would take three points over another goal against his former employers tonight but he’s just enjoying playing a key role in the Co. Donegal side’s season.
“I’ve six goals so far and I’m top goalscorer but you only enjoy it when you get the right results. Hopefully I can add to that but I’ll tell you better at the end of the year if I’m happy with my form and how the season went.
“It’s great to get a full season under my belt. Playing for Derry I was getting a game here and there. So it’s good to get a good run of games and hopefully get noticed.”
It’s been a productive year off the field for Curran as well having graduated with a 1st class honours degree in accountancy from Ulster University. And he’s already secured a full-time job with a Belfast firm and is hoping it won’t interfere with his football career. “I graduated in June and I’m starting a job in Belfast soon so hopefully I can juggle that with the football. I need to see what happens. But hopefully I can balance the two.”
Curran is likely to start tonight’s match as striker, Ruairi Keating, who’s back at the club for a third spell is suspended. Harps boss, Ollie Horgan, however, has attacking options with Curran, Dave Scully and Adam Hanlon all available.