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EXCITEMENT BUILDS AS HARPS FACE UCD IN PLAY-OFFS

first_imgFinn Harps enter the lottery of the play-offs for the seventh time since 1994 and will be hoping to improve on a record that has seen them promoted only once in the last six outings.That single promotion came against Waterford in 2007, the last time Harps took part in the end of season series. The other five all ended in heartbreak – two of these coming in penalty shoot-outs.However, Harps will travel to Belfield in confident mood on Friday night having gone through the last quarter of the season unbeaten.Saturday’s game will be the fifth time the clubs have met this season, and there has been little to separate them this season. Both clubs have won a game each – both on home soil – while the opening two meetings of the season ended in 2-2 draws. The most recent meeting came at the end of last month when Harps ran out 3-0 victors at Finn Park – a result that ensure a second place finish for Harps and also give them the advantage of having the second leg of the play-off fixture at Finn Park.However, in order to use that slight advantage, Harps manager Ollie Horgan knows that he must leave the Belfield Bowl this weeknd with the tie alive – something he knows in itself will require total focus and commitment from his side on Friday.“UCD are an excellent footballing side who have a great mixture of experience with young very talented players,” said Horgan. “We will have our work cut out against them in the two games“Even though we beat them in our most recent game against them, previous form doesn’t really matter from here on,” he said. “UCD themselves have won their last two games without conceding a goal so we know that anything we get will be hard earned.. “We have to play very well for this to be a tight game,” he continued. “They will, as before, have the majority of possession and it will take a huge effort from us to keep the game alive for second leg.”Harps go into the game having just beaten the First Division Champions in the last game of the regular season last Saturday night. Wexford Youths, coming to Finn Park having already been crowned as Champions, were comprehensively defeated 4-1 with under-19 player BJ Banda hitting a brace on his home debut.“Saturday’s game was important to get through with no more injuries or suspensions,” was how Horgan viewed the game with the title winners. “The younger lads who have come into the squad in recent weeks have added more energy to us both on match day and especially training.”Horgan has no injuries or suspensions to deal with and will travel to the students on Friday with a full squad to choose from.TEAM NEWSSuspended: None.Doubtful: None.Injured: None. FORM GUIDE (last six games)Finn Harps: W-D-W-W-D-WUCD: D-L-L-L-W-WHARPS RECORD IN THE PLAY-OFF’SThis will be the seventh time that Finn Harps have been involved in the play-offs – all as a First Division club – and only once have we had success.1993/94 saw Harps finish third in the First Division and face Cobh Ramblers in the play-offs. After Harps had won the first leg 1-0 at Finn Park, Cobh ran out comfortable 3-0 winners in the second leg to maintain their Premier Division status.Twelve months later at the end of the 1994/95 season, Harps faced Athlone Town but after two scoreless draws Athlone stayed in the top flight after winning on penalties in the second leg at St. Mel’s. Penatlies decided the outcome again in 2001/02 when Longford left Finn Park with their Premier status intact. Longford won the first leg 1-0 with Harps recording a 3-2 victory at Finn Park in the second leg.A semi-final defeat on a 2-1 aggregrate scoreline against fellow First Division side Galway United followed in 2002/03. Galway won the first leg 2-0 at Terryland Park with Harps winning the home leg 1-0 at Finn Park. The tribesmen though would go on to lose the play-off final against Premier side Drogheda United and thus also remain in the First Division for another season.Later in 2003, in the first summer season, Harps defeated Bray in the semi-final 3-1 on aggregrate. Harps won both legs (1-0 at Finn Park and 2-1 at the Carlisle Grounds) to set up a meeting with Derry City who had beaten Limerick in the other semi-final. After a scoreless draw at Finn Park Derry ran out 2-1 extra-time winners in the Brandywell in an eventual match.So, after disappointed in their five previous encounters in the play-offs, Harps finally seen success 2007. In a one legged semi-final, Harps defeated Dundalk 2-0 in Finn Park. Premier Division side Waterford waited in the final and Harps had the tie more or less settled after the first leg, winning 3-0 at Finn Park. The second leg ended in a 3-3 draw at the RSC to give Harps a 6-3 aggregrate victory.Despite only gaining promotion once via the play-offs, Harps have yet to lose any of the eight games they have played at Finn Park in the end of season series (6 wins and 2 draws). In fact, only Longford in their 3-2 defeat in 2001/02 have managed to score at Finn Park in play-off games. Away from home it’s a different story though as Harps have only managed 1 victory in 7 games – that coming against Bray Wanderers in 2003. The other six games have finished with four defeats and two draws (excluding penalties).EXCITEMENT BUILDS AS HARPS FACE UCD IN PLAY-OFFS was last modified: October 21st, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:finn harpsPlay-offUCDlast_img read more