One team’s season will finish on Friday night at Finn Park when Finn Harps take on champions Shamrock Rovers in Ballybofey in the FAI Cup quarter final (kick off 5.30pm).
The winner of Friday’s tie will be at home in the semi-final to either Sligo Rovers or Derry City on Sunday 29 November while the loser heads off into the off-season.
It is a tough task for Harps as the Hoops have lost just the one competitive game this season – a 2-0 home defeat to European Heavyweights AC Milan.
However, Ollie Horgan’s men come into the game having secured their Premier Division status in dramatic fashion on the final night of the league campaign. They have also lost just one game in their last eight – although that was a 2-0 defeat to the Hoops in Finn Park at the start of November.
“Listen, they’re champions for a reason and it’s going to be a huge ask for us to get anything from the game,” said Horgan speaking to FinnHarps.ie. “But the lads have done well to close the season so we’ll give it our best and see how we go.”
Adam Foley said; "We've nothing to lose and confidence is high in the squad. We'll prepare accordingly and hopefully things go our way."
Horgan can at least call on Leo Donnellan who returns from suspension having missed last week’s win over Waterford. However, this time around Shane McEleney is suspended and Mark Timlin remains out injured.
Having gone through their championship winning league campaign without defeat, the Hoops are focused now on retaining their cup and going through a 22 game domestic season unbeaten. Rovers haven’t a suffered defeat on the road since September 2019.
Retaining the cup said Stephen Bradley is “something that’s achievable but to do that we’ve got to make sure that we’re 100% focused on Friday first.
“If we can go and get the result then it’s something we can talk about. Our main focus in Finn Harps on Friday because we definitely can’t look past that.”
Harps were battling for points to save off relegation when the teams met two weeks ago but having secured their safety, might be Harps be more dangerous without the relegation pressure?
“I don’t think that matters. They’ll play the same way and approach it the same way each and every game so I don’t think that will have any effect. They’ll go all out to win the game like they did a few weeks ago and so will we.
“It will be a really difficult game, like we got up there in the league. Ollie has done a fantastic job. We know it’s going to be a really difficult game but it’s one that we’re ready for”.
Referee: Rob Hennessy
Harps have only avoided defeat against the Hoops once in their last 12 games. This season Rovers won 3-1 in Tallaght and 2-0 in Ballybofey. The Hoops won all five matches between the teams last year - Rovers scored nine goals and conceded none. The previous year Rovers won all three games against Harps, with 3-2 and 4-1 victories in Tallaght and 1-0 in Ballybofey, while in 2017 Rovers won 1-0 and 2-0 in Finn Park but drew with Harps 1-1 in Tallaght.
Harps won three of their seven home league games this season whereas the Hoops won eight and drew just the one on the road in the league.
Harps are looking to get to their first FAI Cup final since 1999 and to win their the FAI Cup for only the second time. Harps’ solitary FAI Cup success came back in 1974.
Finn Harps 17/2; Draw 7/2; Shamrock Rovers ¼.
2-0 away win.
Injured: Mark Timlin
Doubtful: Karl O'Sullivan, Kosovar Sadiki
Suspended: Shane McEleney
Injured: Greg Bolger, Rory Gaffney
Suspended: Stephen Bradley
The FAI have confirmed that this year's FAI Cup Final will take place at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday 6 December. Semis are set for Sunday 29 November. pic.twitter.com/bTLb7aS6PM— Extratime.com (@ExtratimeNews) November 19, 2020