Shelbourne occupy seventh place in the league after six rounds of games, and with only one win in that six-game sequence they will be looking to add another three- pointer when they host winless Finn Harps in Tolka Park on Friday night.
They were on course for a second win in against Bohemians in Dalymount Park on Monday night (March 14th), leading 1-0 after a Sean Boyd penalty, however they conceded a late equaliser in the 87th minute and had to be content with a share of the points.
The draw was probably a fair result at the end of a feisty Dublin derby, although Shelbourne were incensed with referee Rob Harvey’s decision not to award a penalty when Shane Farrell was upended by Rory Feely in the 60th minute, the foul certainly looking like it was committed inside the Bohemian’s penalty area.
Speaking to his club media, Shelbourne boss Damien Duff said Shels fans have “given their all and more” so far and it’s time for his players to convert their good form into three points at home to Finn Harps on Friday night.
Duff says the game is “bigger than Bohs last Monday” and said he has the utmost respect for Ollie Horgan who he says has “done an amazing job the fast few seasons.”
“Ollie is an expert after all these years and the Club is an expert in what it has been doing the past few seasons. You could argue we’re favourites going into the game tomorrow but absolutely not they could very much be,” he added.
Duff said Sean Boyd’s goal at home to Dundalk “was a release” to get our opening home goal of the season and now the team is looking to kick on to get the three points against Harps.
“We’ve been an awful lot of work on the training ground around set pieces and what Finn Harps will have to offer but we are slowly, game by game, getting better at adding that quality I have been talking about the past couple of weeks,” the Shels boss added.
Mark Coyle is to face a late fitness test as he nears a return from injury while JJ Lunney, Jack Moylan and Shane Griffin continue to miss out.
The Donegal side had an exceptionally high turnover of players during the close season so it is no great surprise that the newly assembled squad are finding it tough going in the early part of the 2022 season.
Ollie Horgan’s side have failed to register a win in their five outings to date, losing three and drawing two games. They currently are joint bottom of the table with an identical record to UCD.
They arrive at Tolka Park on the back of a 3-1 defeat away to Sligo Rovers last Monday night (March 14th), a game that was effectively over at the half way stage as Sligo were 3-0 ahead by the 47th minute.
Harps did make Sligo work hard for their victory however but they had nobody of the class of Aidan Keena who scored all three goals for the Bit O’ Red.
Their one goal, a great strike by Luke Rudden in the 86th minute, was too little to late, and even the introduction of attacking substitutes Yoyo Mahdy and Bastian Hery mid-way through the second half failed to alter the course of the game.
Ollie Horgan told FinnHarps.ie “We know all about the quality Shelbourne have at their disposal. Mark Coyle was a great servant to the club in his time here, while the likes of Sean Boyd and Dan Hawkins chipped in with a number of important goals and assists last season.
We’re disappointed not to have more points on the board at this stage as we feel our play in some games has merited better, but it’s up to us to go out and make it happen on the pitch.”
In team news Regan Donelon, Rob Slevin, Filip Mihaljevic and David Webster are all doubtful for the Tolka Park match.
Referee: John McLoughlin
The games between these two sides have tended to be very low scoring affairs with only three goals being scored in the last four matches going back to May 2018.
The most recent game between the two sides was in Sept 2020 and this resulted in a 1-1 draw, the since retired Ciaran Kilduff scoring for Shels, while Barry McNamee, still a key figure in the Harps side, scoring the equaliser for Harps.
Shelbourne 2 0 Finn Harps
Injured: Shane Griffin, JJ Lunney, Jack Moylan.
Doubtful: Mark Coyle
Doubtful: Regan Donelon, Rob Slevin, Filip Mihaljevic, David Webster
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