Kilcar to shade it and Harps on Easy Street – Walshy on Wednesday!

first_imgAlmost on Easy Street……!Three games back, the nerve edges were walking tight ropes for Finn Harps fans but after last night’s dramatic draw against St. Patrick’s Athletic it’s close to easy street down Navenny way.If Sean Houston’s stunning equalizer in the second minute of stoppage time doesn’t make the short list for goal of the season I won’t be baring my backside, aka Mick McCarthy, in McElhinney’s window but I will be drafting off a sorely worded letter to the panel on R.T.E. who choose these things.What a strike from the player who has been hugely influential when Harps have needed him most. Two goals against Bray Wanderers on Friday night and a stunning left foot drive into the top corner last night – what would Harps do without him?If rumours are correct they may have to do next season as he is reportedly aiming to move to Dublin and may not fancy the commuting. But for now he’s a Harps player and helping to keep the club in the Premier League.The ten minutes of stoppage time for added on after a serious looking injury to Keith Cowan who lay prone on the pitch for a handful of minutes as medics tended to him. He was eventually stretchered off and into the back of a Civil Defence ambulance. It looked bad but hopefully he will be back to complete the season.Harps had started with B.J. Banda – scorer of a hat-trick for the under-19’s against Cork City the day he came on against Bray and almost scored on two occasions – in a roving front role and while he worked hard he was finding it difficult against the experience in the St. Pat’s rearguard.For long spells, the visitors were dominant in possession and movement and after pinning Harps back in the opening stages of the second half they went in front through former Derry City player Mark Timlin.It appeared it was going to be one of those nights for the home side until a couple of substitutions changed the course of the game. For the final twenty minutes they laid siege to the visitors’ goal and could have had an equalizer before Houston’s cracker. And with eight or so minutes of stoppage time still to go they were still pounding away and might have snatched what earlier looked like an unlikely victory.But this point might just be the one to ensure safety even though a trip to Cork City – beaten in the televised game against champions Dundalk last night – awaits them on Friday night.By Paddy Walsh, Donegal’s leading sportswriter NOT THE LAST WE’LL SEE OF McHUGH…..Kevin McHugh has been an amazing servant to Finn Harps down through the years. Pic by Northwest Newspix.After the sight of Kevin McHugh’s shredded finger following that dreadful accident at the Aura Leisure complex in Letterkenny last week, my first thought – after gulping a few times – was would we ever see him in a Harps jersey again.The answer came this week when the Killea man confirmed that his League of Ireland career was over and his long stint with Harps – at least in playing terms – is at an end.Not how he imagined it, he maintained yesterday, but life doesn’t always lay it out the way you want it.Harps are planning something special to honour the man who had spells with Derry City, Linfield and Omagh Town but whose heart was invariably at Finn Park. And rightly so.Some of us will be hoping that he could still find a way to return to action for the club but if not I foresee him taking on an equally key role at a stage in the future – that of manager.Don’t rule it out.…..AND ANOTHER McHUGH TO BE CELEBRATING ON SUNDAYMichael MurphyIf you were going by the respective performances in the semi-finals, then the footballers of Kilcar would be walking away with the Dr Maguire Cup in the Michael Murphy Sport & Leisure sponsored County Championship Final on Sunday.They were, from all reports, outstanding in their semi-final clash against the holders, Naomh Conaill – a game that lived up to its star billing.Not so the other semi-final which paired Glenswilly with Malin and almost saw the shock of the whole competition with the Inishowen side going close to booking a first ever tilt in the Final reckoning.But Glenswilly will surely be in different mode for the clash on Sunday at MacCumhaill Park. Perhaps too complacent against Malin, they won’t have that problem when Kilcar are the opponents.Kilcar may start the favourites but Michael Murphy won’t want to be sponsoring a competition that sees him finishing on the losing side.This will be Glenswilly’s fourth final in six years while Martin McHugh’s Kilcar have to go back to 1993 since their last appearance at the business end of the Senior Championship – a two point win over Killybegs.It could be that close against this time out with Kilcar just about shading it to claim another domestic title twenty-three years on from their last one. COLEMAN: “NO BETTER FULL-BACK IN EUROPEAN FOOTBALL TODAY”Seamus ColemanBefore even a ball was kicked in Moldova and Shane Long (not ninety seconds after the first one was centred) had scored Ireland’s opener, we had got some measure of what Group D is all about.Martin O’Neill’s team had not given of their best in the match against Georgia but still came out on the right side of the 1-0 scoreline. Much more than Wales managed in their home game against the same opposition earlier on Sunday evening. That 1-1 draw underlined how tight things will be and certainly put Ireland’s result against the Georgians into some measured perspective.And what’s the one name we have been consistently hearing and reading about before, during and since that match at the Aviva Stadium – the man Eamon Dunphy had mentioned within thirty seconds when the team was announced for that game and the R.T.E. panel were asked to discuss it.This column has been a long time advocate of the mercurial skills of the former Shelbourne midfielder – and he was inventive and influential against Moldova – but I have to say when his name is drummed into your consciousness at every available opportunity by those on the afore-mentioned studio panel, it begins to shake your belief in him rather than encourage it.Dunphy & Co. have history in this respect – remember Andy Reid (another Dubliner) and the constant calls for the manager of the time to bring him into the starting fold?For sure, this Ireland team requires a skilful playmaker at its heart but there are games – and opposition – where something different may be needed and Georgia was likely one of them.Hoolahan is a quality player but I often wonder – namely every time Mr. Dunphy and other media personalities, derides an Irish team manager for not picking him – how he was never signed up by one of the bigger clubs in England and instead has had to be content with the lower lights of Norwich City and Blackpool.I wonder, too, if Seamus Coleman hailed from the streets of the capital, would Dunphy have belittled the decision by manager O’Neill to appoint him captain of this Irish side.Coleman had a shaky game against Georgia just like most of his team-mates – though he did, after a sparkling run into the box, net the winner – but he was back in form for the match in Chisinau on Sunday and was again instrumental in inspiring his side to victory. Playing a captain’s role in other words.“Donegal Boys on Tour’, one banner among the Irish contingent on the terraces proclaimed.And one who should be touring as Ireland skipper for many years to come despite the misgivings of some pundits. Not Didi Hamman, however, who claimed afterwards that Coleman had become a “hugely important player” for Ireland. “Absolutely exceptional – there is no better full-back in European football today,” insisted the former German international.A pundit who knows what he’s talking about.IRONMAN AIDAN DEFIES THE HEATAidan CallaghanAnother outstanding performance by Letterkenny’s Aidan Callaghan when he completed the Ironman World Championships event in Hawaii at the weekend.In temperatures hitting a crippling 35 degrees – as if it wasn’t tight enough before heat comes into the equation – he finished in a hugely impressive time of 9:54:06.Aidan had qualified for the pinnacle event by finishing 20th overall in an Ironman Challenge in Bolton in July. On that occasion he was a fraction away from his time in Hawaii – 9:53:58 – but it wasn’t as climatic oppressive in the Lancashire town as you might imagine.Over 2,000 participants took to the waters in Kona to start the 2.4 mile swim and get the event underway on Sunday. That was followed by a 112 mile cycle and a full marathon. To do each of these on respective days would be difficult enough – to do them all in the one sitting so to speak and in conditions that would boil the blood undoubtedly qualifies it for the ultimate endurance test for the human body.Aidan finished 283rd overall from a field comprising some of the planet’s elite.And all the rest of us who struggle to take the dog for a dander can ask is – ‘Hawaii’ do they do it?MARK OF INSPIRATION Mark EnglishThe young athletes assembled in Arena 7 for Letterkenny A.C.’s juvenile presentation function last Friday evening were in for a surprise.And as soon as local Olympian and 800 metre semi-finalist from Rio, Mark English, popped his head around the door it was clear it was a big one.The guest of honour was a popular choice – besieged as he was by a scrum of boys and girls keen to get their selfies and pictures taken with the local star and secure his autograph.I didn’t get along to the presentation event but by all accounts it was inspirational. Mark didn’t address the gathering but he didn’t have to – his very presence enough to galvanize those youngsters into believing just what is possible.At the same age, a boy from the Glebe area of Letterkenny would have had his dreams. His hopes. His beliefs. And training away to achieve them.And there he was last Friday night surrounded by other young hopefuls and believers.A SWITCH IN TIMEAnd now a ‘remember where you read it first’ prediction.You may have heard that the rumour mill is revisiting that story from last season that Manchester United are eyeing up a move for our own Seamus Coleman.Well, here’s one to go with it. The Killybegs man to, indeed, transfer to Old Trafford – where he’ll run into more of those type of players he was talking about this week than you can swing a Louis de Vuitton bag at – with Wayne Rooney heading back to his former club, Everton, in part exchange.Like I say, remember where……..Kilcar to shade it and Harps on Easy Street – Walshy on Wednesday! was last modified: October 12th, 2016 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)last_img read more