I WAS IN the privileged position this year to go and watch a lot of the League of Ireland (especially during the Covid shutdown) and so I got to see more of Finn Harps than I think I ever have done in the past.
What I noticed this season as much as anything else is that Finn Harps are no longer this team full of big men, who get the ball in the box and hope for the best.
Don’t get me wrong, they still play to their strengths and there will be times when they send it long but in Mark Coyle, Barry McNamee, Ryan Connolly and Will Seymore they probably have one of the smallest midfields in the league.
These boys were all more than prepared to get on the ball and get the team playing and it was a joy to watch a Harps team play in that manner.
I know I have said it many times in this column over the years but the job that Ollie Horgan has done at Finn Park has been nothing short of sensational.
First and foremost, the fact that he is able to attract players from outside of Donegal to Finn Park is huge, but to then get them to play in the manner they do, leaving everything on the pitch in every game, is the sign of a proper manager.
Ollie Horgan is looked at as some sort of character, a bit of craic almost and from knowing the man personally, I can assure you that he’s all of the above.
I actually don’t think he gets half enough credit though for his tactical nous and attention to detail.
Finn Harps don’t beat the likes of Shamrock Rovers, Dundalk, Derry City and Bohemians without being so well set up and without the manager knowing all there is to know about the opposition.
His attention to detail and knowledge of players in this country is incredible and Finn Harps are very lucky to have him.
I still believe he should try to be a wee bit more positive in his media interviews, but that’s not going to change any time soon.
With Shelbourne coming into the league next season under Damien Duff and the likes of Waterford and Drogheda likely to invest fairly heavily again, I just hope Finn Harps continue to back the manager with all they have because it would be a very sad day for football in this county if Ollie Horgan ever decided to step away.
One final thing, Ollie Horgan has been accused in the past of not giving young players a chance but as he has always said, ‘if they’re good enough they’ll play,’ just ask Luke Rudden.