Finn Harps' Shane McEleney wants home FAI Cup quarter-final tie

Defender Shane McEleney is hoping Finn Harps can secure a home tie in tonight’s quarter-final draw following a first ever FAI Cup win over North West neighbours Derry City on Friday night.

By Kevin McLaughlin
Tuesday, 31st August 2021, 6:00 am
Derry City's Jamie McGonigle shields the ball from Finn Harps' Shane McEleney. Picture Kevin Moore/mci
Derry City's Jamie McGonigle shields the ball from Finn Harps' Shane McEleney. Picture Kevin Moore/mci

With league champions and FAI Cup favourites, Shamrock Rovers crashing out at Bohemians, the draw looks wide open but McEleney isn’t thinking too far ahead.

“It’s the luck of the draw now, we’ll see who we get and then take it from there,” insisted McEleney.

“I would love a home draw. We want to try and make this place a hard place to come to and I think we have been doing that in recent weeks. We’ll look forward to the quarter-final when it comes around but we’ll be taking every game as it comes and not be getting too far ahead of ourselves. We have Shamrock Rovers this Friday, the league champions, and that will be a tough game.”

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The Ballybofey men, who have won their last five games in all competitions, conceding one goal in the process, and McEleney wants that run to continue when they host Stephen Bradley’s champions, citing the Harps’ togetherness as a major factor for their upturn in form.

“There has always been togetherness within the squad. Even when we weren’t getting the right results, we had a couple of close games already this season,” added the 30-year old centre-half.

“The league game here against Derry, when they beat us 2-1, and the Drogheda game when they scored late-on, we were well in those games and they could have gone either way so when those results weren’t going our way, we just tried to keep together. Then, when results start to turn your way, players like Ryan Rainey and Tunde (Owolabi) build confidence from them.

“You could see them tonight, they are good, young players and are thriving which is great to see because it’s like a new lease of life for us when those players come on. However, we now have to try and build on this result. We have won five games in a row now but we need to make it six this week against (Shamrock) Rovers.”

The big centre-back, alongside David Webster, never afforded Jamie McGonigle nor Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe a clear cut chance throughout the 90 minutes, admitting things were a bit ‘helter skelter’ at times as full-backs Ethan Boyle and Jordan Mustoe had to be replaced due to injuries. However, replacements Kosovar Sadiki and Karl O’Sullivan slotted in well and McEleney praised Ollie Horgan and Paul Hegarty’s recruitment this season.

“That’s a credit to Ollie and Hegs for their recruitment, every player that steps in is doing his utmost for the team and for the club,” explained McEleney, “We have good togetherness and while we have had a run of injuries and picked up a few more tonight, everyone that comes in does a job.

“We have a good squad here and while at times it was a bit helter-skelter tonight with the changes, everyone was working for each other and that helps.

The Shantallow man admits meeting family and friends may be a bit awkward this week after knocking his home town club out of the cup.

“I have brother-in-laws and friends who are Derry fans and they’ll not be happy with me but it’s all banter,” he smiles, “We are just delighted with the win and hopefully we can push on for the Rovers game.

“It’s one of those things that a North West derby always throws up. I have played in them for both sides and you never get an easy game. We didn’t play as well as we should have but we still came out on top, so I think that’s more pleasing for us as a group.

“Derry imposed their game a bit more than what we did, they had long periods of possessions but didn’t really create many clear cut chances so that was pleasing. A clean-sheet at home and we move onto the next round.”