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Cider Drinkers Youth Challenge

Cider Drinker

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Hi all, after spending plenty of time playing Football Manager and scouring the forums for a few days I've decided to have a crack at a story. There won't be much story telling as such as I'm just not that imaginative. However I will try and use a simple posting method of match reports, player reports and transfer business. Along with any news from the club I feel is important :)

I will be attempting a Youth/Young player save with the aim of growing a relatively unknown club to glory. I think I'm gonna be in it for the long haul somehow! I'll be using FM14 as it's one of the only versions of FM my old PC can still use. I will also be using classic mode as it suits my play style a lot more. I've started the game with all the home nations loaded (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic Of Ireland) with a medium database.

I was unemployed with no previous experience. I went on holiday applying for any clubs that would have me it didn't take long for a job offer to appear. 
Here goes nothing and I really hope you all enjoy :)

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I threw my hat into the mix for a job at Irish First Divison Finn Harps and low and behold they offered me a 1 year contract! I'm very excited to get started off. With 15 games played already we sit comfortably in 5th in an 8 team league.

The squad itself has got quite a mixture of ages in it so will take me a few months until I can start shipping players out when their contract ends or if I get offers for them of course. The squad is also quite close to it's wage budget so there's not much room for movements in for the moment. The club itself hasn't got much of a trophy cabinet with only a few honours - Irish First Divison Winners in 2004, an Irish Senior Challenge Cup and a Irish Dublin City Cup trophy. Here's hoping I can add to the cabinet! 

As the squad isn't really what I would call "my squad" I will only be doing some incite on some players who I feel may be part of future plans. 

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neilhhoskins77- Thank you for the warm welcome. I hope it's a long and fruitful venture :) 

Ciaran Coll

At the ripe young age of 21 we have Coll who looks like a decent prospect and has already nailed down his spot at Left Back. I am very impressed with his attributes, he is one of the fastest players at the club and loves to get stuck into a tackle. I'll try and hold on for him for a few seasons as he's more than good enough for this level. 

Carel Tiofack

Tiofack has impressed me with his recent performances, at the age of 19 he can already boast a full season under his belt. He is a quick winger and has great accuracy with his crossing abilities.  One for the future I'm sure

Shaun Patton

Last of the prospects we have 17 year old Goalkeeper Patton. His height at 6'3 will be a blessing at this level and his reactions are great too. Plenty to work on for the young keeper but if he trains well he could very well go onto better things.


Cobh Ramblers 0-1 Finn Harps

My managerial reign got off to a solid start as we beat 8th placed Cobh Ramblers in a match of few chances. A clean sheet for Patton and a goal for veteran Kevin McHugh in the first half meant we went into the break a goal up. We had a goal disallowed from a corner in the second half and we struck the post as Patton was rarely troubled in an assured display from my first game in charge.

Later in the week McHugh was selected in team of the week which was a fair reflection on his performance.

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Athlone Town 1-4 Finn Harps

We played top of the league Athlone off the pitch today with a dominating display away from home. McHugh continued his great form with another 2 goals. Both of his goals were so identical I thought I pressed the replay button. Tiofack got on the scoresheet after a scramble in the box wasn't cleared. Centre midfielder Packie Mailey scored the opener after a great passing movement. Athlone scored a late consolation but it was barely deserved after a lacklustre display. 


Finn Harps 0-0 Salthill

We couldn't find a way past a stubborn Salthill side who were very lucky not to lose this game. We had the majority of the ball for the first half and hit the post from a smart corner routine. Around 10 minutes later we had the ball in the back of the net but McHugh's header was believed to be offside by the linesman. Second half was more of the same and we hit the post for a second time as Tiofacks piledriver was deflected onto the post by the brave Salthill defender. We had more chances to win the game but found their goalkeeper in fine form. As we couldn't nick it in the end. A bit disappointing but it does keep our unbeaten run going.

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Longford 3-2 Finn Harps

Our unbeaten run came to and end in an entertaining game against Longford. We got off to the best possible start after McHugh continued his goal scoring form as he placed in a beautiful shot beyond the keeper. Longford weren't behind for long and equalised 2 minutes later after a free header in the penalty area. It was a double whammy just 2 minutes later as another floated cross found its way to the same striker and he headed in for a second goal. It got worse 10 minutes later as we found ourselves 2 goals down with yet another free header in the area squirmed under Patton who really should of done better. We were a lot more solid second half and found a way back into the game. Tiofack skinned his marker and lobbed the goalkeeper from the edge of the area. We peppered the goal after that but couldn't find the thirds goal which ended my unbeaten run. The team did play well though even in defeat. 

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The transfer window came to the end as we didn't make any signings but did manage to secure Patton down on a 2 year deal which is beneficial to us in the long run. 

On more disappointing note Ciaran Coll was offered a contract by Cork City and he will be departing us when his contract ends. I'm utterly disappointed but pleased for him that  he'll be making a move up the leagues. 

On the last note we got a new sponsorship worth £14,000 a year. Not a great deal but at this level every little helps!


Finn Harps 0-0 Wexford Youths

One of the most boring games I've had the pleasure of watching as we drew a blank with Wexford. We had the majority of possession but couldn't make any use of it. The defence looked well assured however and was a vast improvement from our defeat against Longford. We managed just 3 shots on goal which I will need to address in the long run. McHugh had a first half chance cleared off the line in the second half as the game fizzled out into a draw.

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Mervue Utd 5-4 Finn Harps

In one of the games of the season we ended up on the losing side as our concentration cost us dearly in the end. We had a great start to the game as McHugh lashed home a penalty in the 11th minute. Just 6 minutes later the equaliser came from a long ball which the defence didn't deal with as the opposition striker slotted under the advancing Patton. We were back in front around the half hour mark as McHugh used his strength to brush aside the centre back and struck a shot into the top right corner. We held onto our lead for 10 minutes as their midfielder found space on the edge of the box and coolly slotted past Patton to even things up. We took the lead once again just 5 minutes after half time attacking midfielder Forker found himself unmarked from a corner and headed past the keeper. Once again we didn't hold onto our lead as just 2 minutes later the centre back rose above players in the box and the ball nestled in the corner. McHugh completed his hat trick on the hour mark in a frantic 15 minutes after gliding past the last defender and rounding the keeper. However once again just 3 minutes later it was all square as the striker who had already scored against us tapped in from a Patton error. The 9th and final goal of the game came from our own defender as he headed into his own net from a smart corner routine and we ended up on the losing side of a 9 goal thriller.

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oche balboa- I certainly hope so! :)


4 of the team were selected in team of the week to my amazement Patton was even selected! Along with midfielders Forker and McCarron. Unsurprisingly McHugh was also selected after his impressive hat trick. 


Waterford Utd 0-0 Finn Harps (TV)

How we didn't win this game I'll never know. We absolutely dominated proceedings on the televised game against high flying Waterford. McHugh wasted a handful of chances throughout the game and had a goal disallowed for offside in the first half. We played some brilliant football at times which was pleasing on the eye which must of impressed the viewing audience. The team continued their great display in the second half but found the opposing goalkeeper on brilliant form with a handful of fantastic saves. Tiofack hit the post late on as we just couldn't find the killer instinct.


Finn Harps 4-2 Cobh Ramblers

We ended our winless run with a deserved win against rock bottom Cobh Ramblers. We took an early lead as the leagues leading scorer McHugh smashed a volley into the bottom corner in the 21st minute. The bottom side clawed their way back in it after a long ball found its way into the penalty area, Patton's feeble attempt at grabbing the ball failed miserably as the striker tapped into an empty goal. We didn't need to worry as McHugh slotted in his 20th of the season on the stroke of half time. Substitute Bonner found space in the box following a corner routine we've been working on and headed past the hapless goalkeeper. We started to worry around 20 minutes left as the left winger who caused us a few problems throughout the game skinned 2 members of our defence and fired past Patton. We didn't need to worry as McNulty curled in from a beautiful free kick to give us 3 points and end our winless run.

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Irish Senior Challenge Cup 3rd Round

Derry City 1-2 Finn Harps

We caused a great upset in the Challenge Cup as we dumped out Premier League side Derry City away from home. Nobody gave us a chance before kick off and we were 25/1 to get a result. The bookmakers probably thought their odds were correct as we fell behind after just 3 minutes. The pacey winger peeled away from our left back Coll and coolly placed a shot into the bottom corner beyond the despairing reach of Patton. We more than held our own in the first half and gave Derry no time on the ball as we reached half time 1 goal down. It was a different story second half and it showed as we were by far the dominant team. Substitute Bonner sent the away contingent mental as he headed in from a corner at the far post at the hour mark. Just 6 minutes later our talisman McHugh scored following a breakaway to send the away end into delirium with just over 20 minutes left to play. Derry threw everything at us but Patton commanded his defence  brilliantly and saved smartly from a free kick and somehow palming the rebound behind with the game edging towards the final whistle. In the 93rd minute Coll smashed the ball down the pitch as the ball went out for a goal kick the referee blew the final whistle. The boys went absolutely mental and ran towards the away end where the Finn Harps supporters and staff celebrated long into the night with an unlikely victory.

We were awarded just over £13,000 for our exploits in the cup. 

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Salthill 1-3 Finn Harps

We continued our great run of form with a hard fought victory over struggling Salthill. Midfielder McGowan struck a thunderous volley from outside the box with barely 20 minutes gone to get us off to a great start after we dominated proceedings. McHugh pounced on a loose ball in the box just before half time to give us a well earned 2 goal lead. Salthill rarely threatened our goal but when they did Patton had to be on his toes as he clawed away a shot heading to the top corner around the hour mark. Last minute call up Funston scored from a free kick with 20 minutes to go although I don't think he meant it! The last quarter of the half was quiet before Salthill scored a consolation in the 90th minute after a quick break away from a corner.

This result leaves us 5th in the table only 4 points from the play offs. Although I'm not too fussed about promotion this year it is a good target to aim for in the run up towards the end of the season.


We had 3 players in the team of the week after our good performance against Salthill. Centre back Packie Mailey, midfielders McGowan and Forker also earned a place after their assured display a few days ago. 

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Finn Harps 4-3 Athlone Town

We came from 3-2 down with 5 minutes left to nick a win against top of the league Athlone Town after a topsy turvey game. We continued our recent goal scoring record when Tiofack slotted in at the near post after a mazy run. We were pegged back a minute into stoppage time in the first half after poor marking from a corner led to the equaliser. We battled well for the first part of the second period but were undone by a sublime chip from Athlone's leading goal scorer. 5 minutes later that man McHugh found himself in an insane amount of space in the box following a deep cross and slotted in to level things up. We weren't level for long as a sweeping counter attack ended in a tap in at the back post for the visiting midfielder. It looked like we were heading for defeat but on the 82nd minute a wonderful ball from Tiofack who was a nuisance all afternoon found centre back Cowan at the back post. I have no idea why he was so far forward but I didn't mind in the slightest. Just when I thought we nicked a point McHugh was tripped in the box he dispatched the resulting penalty with such calmness to complete the 2 goal turnaround. The fans were so thrilled with another great goal scoring display. I just wish we could win a bit more comfortably!

We face Athlone in our next game after being drawn away to them in the quarter final of the Challenge Cup.

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Irish Challenge Cup Quarter Final

Athlone Town 2-1 Finn Harps

We were dumped out of the Challenge Cup after a spirited display in our rematch against Athlone Town. It was a more timid affair from the league game with a semi final tie at stake. Athlone battered us first half in all honesty as we barely had a sniff. We had Patton to thank after a goalless half an hour with several fine stops thwarting the home sides attack. Unfortunately opposing striker Bayne scored his first goal of the season after a fine move by the opposition. We grew into the game before half time and were unlucky not to find the net. The second half started brightly and we had a few shots on target all saved fantastically by the opposing goalie. McHugh found our equaliser 70 minutes in with a towering header finding the bottom corner although the keeper should of done better. The home fans were celebrating not long after though as Bayne scored 5 minutes later which proved to be the winning goal. I can't be too mad at the team as they did knock out Derry City, the money would've been nice but it was a good display. 

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Finn Harps 1-0 Longford Town

We bounced back from our exit from the cup with a big win against play off chasing Longford to close the gap to 2 points with 2 games left. The game itself was a tight nervy affair and 90 minutes of few chances. McHugh was unlucky to only find the post after good work down the by-line. On the stroke of half time he did find the net with his 23rd league goal of the season. I don't think we'd be doing as well without his goals truthfully. The team defended resolutely second half as we frustrated Longford to just 3 shots on goal. The fans were behind us all game and were rewarded for their efforts with a clean sheet and all 3 points as we moved within touching distance of the play offs.


Athlone Town won the Irish League Cup after a 2-0 win against Premier League Side Dundalk. Quite an achievement for the team sitting top of our league.


I was given the manager of the month trophy after a great month for us! My first award in a relatively short time at the club. 

McHugh was given goal of the month after his tremendous effort against Longford following a great team move.


Athlone Town celebrated a double as they gained promotion from the First Division after a 2-1 win over Longford.

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Wexford Youths 1-3 Finn Harps

We moved into a play off position as we saw off a Wexford side on good form. We played some fantastic football this evening and the away fans were in full voice come the final whistle.  McHugh just cannot stop scoring at the moment and he scored his 24th league goal of the season after a shot at the near post which caught out the keeper. Attacking midfielder McCarron scored the second goal on the half hour mark heading home from an accurate free kick. We were flying by half time as McHugh scored a dipping volley from outside the area to almost put the game beyond doubt. Wexford came out of the traps flying and scored on the 48th minute which did make me worry in all honesty. I was a lot less worried however when their midfielder was sent off for a second yellow card as we saw the game out with ease.

A win on the final day would secure a play off spot we face Mervue United in 6th who have nothing to play for. The fixture will be at home which I'm hoping will be a good attendance for us to encourage the players over the line.

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Finn Harps 1-0 Mervue Utd

We secured 3rd place and a play off spot after a nervy win against Mervue. A healthy crowd of 411 turned up which turned out to be our biggest attendance of the season. We took the lead courtesy of that man McHugh after 25 minutes which settled the players and the home fans. In all truthfulness it was a boring game of football after that as the nerves slowly started to get to the players. Patton saved brilliantly from a free kick before half time to send us into the break a goal up. 5 minutes into the second half we found ourselves down to 10 men after midfielder McNulty saw red after a second yellow card. The rest of the game was backs against the wall as Mervue started peppering the goal. However the players adapted amazingly to the  formation change and we saw out the game without any more incidents. The fans clapped the players off the pitch for their efforts. 

Now we have two play off games against Waterford who finished second. This won't be an easy tie as Waterford finished the season very strongly.

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Irish First Division Play Offs 1st Leg

Finn Harps 2-0 Waterford Utd

A bumper crowd of 1,401 saw us take a 2 goal lead back to Waterford for the second leg. McHugh got us off to a the best possible start after 7 minutes after his initial shot was parried by the goalkeeper back into his path to send the boisterous crowd into huge celebrations. It got even better 2 minutes later as Tiofack rounded the goalkeeper and kept his composure to find the net. Tiofacks celebrations were mental as he jumped into the crowd and fully enjoyed the momentous occasion. Waterford were stung by this and it took them until the stroke of half time to trouble Patton. The second half was more of the first and we limited the opposition who were on fine form to just 4 shots on goal for the whole match. McHugh did land on his ankle quite badly and I feared the worst when I had to take him off. However it wasn't as bad as he made out and will be making a full recovery in time for the second leg. When the final whistle blew the fans showed their appreciation and clapped the 11 men off the pitch after a huge win. The job isn't done yet I told them and there's plenty of work to do in the 2nd leg to come.

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Irish First Division Play Offs 2nd Leg

Waterford Utd 1-2 Finn Harps

We're through to the final after seeing off a spirited Waterford side in front of 1,601 fans! I was questioned by the media beforehand about complacency issues. I responded with we should just be professional and to keep doing what we've been doing all season. That told in the 8th minute after McCarron slammed the ball home from a tight angle to send delirium in the away end. Waterford were very determined to not let the game die without a fight and equalised with just over 20 minutes played after Patton's initial save fell to their leading scorer who put the ball into a virtually empty net. I was never too worried and the game went into the break as we still had our 2 goal advantage. We started brightly in the 2nd half and we scored the all important 2nd goal as McGowan found himself in so much space in the box and rifled past the keeper to send the away contingency bezerk. The game was delayed as flares were let off in the away end. Waterford were deflated by this as the away fans out sung the home support. We saw off the game with minimal fuss as we book our place in the final.

Shortly after the game we found out our opponents are UCD who finished 11th in the Premier League with 25 points from their 33 games. They won't be taken lightly as they do have a good squad who can cause us problems if we don't watch ourselves. It will be a 2 legged tie with UCD hosting us in the first game.

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Irish Relegation Play Off 1st Leg

UCD 2-4 Finn Harps TV

We are one game away from promotion as we take a 2 goal lead back to Finn Park. We made a sluggish start and it showed as we went 1-0 down after some slack marking in the 15th minute. Wegrew into the game and had some half chances before McCarron headed home from a corner kick to send the away fans into manic celebrations. Just after half time that man McHugh scored a one on one with the goalkeeper to give us a slender lead. He doubled his tally in the 70th minute after fine work from Tiofack down the right side. He then sent a pinpoint cross in which caused havoc in the box. McHugh loves a bit of havoc and scrambled home our 3rd goal of the game. 10 minutes later McHugh completed a remarkable hat trick with a rasping free kick from 25 yards out to send us into an unassailable lead. UCD managed to grab what could be a very important goal in the 90th minute to keep the tie alive going into the all important 2nd leg. 

A great performance from the boys in front of a lacklustre crowd of only 261 fans. Absolutely mental considering its a relegation play off :O On a side note McHugh has scored 30 goals in
31 games. Such a great return from a 33 year old striker!

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Irish Relegation Play Off 2nd Leg

Finn Harps (7) 3-0 (2) UCD

Finn Harps Promoted!

We celebrated promotion in a dominant win against Premier League UCD who were relegated at our expense. I was always confident after the way the first leg of the tie went and I told the media so before the game. McCowan scored after 12 minutes to give us a 3 goal lead on aggregate which seemed to dent the Premier League sides confidence. Tiofack has been one of the players of the season and he deservedly got the 2nd goal shortly after half time after some schoolboy defending from the away side. He danced past 3 players before rounding the goalkeeper. Although only 788 people attended they went absolutely mental as during Tiofacks celebrations some ran on the pitch to celebrate with him. Waterford were there for the taking and McHugh grabbed his 31st and final goal of the season which effectively ended the tie. The final whistle blew and a pitch invasion commenced. The players deserve to enjoy every second of it as they've done brilliantly since my arrival at the club. It was a double celebration for me as it's also my birthday. The players drenched me with champagne after the match. My partner won't be happy as now I've got to take my suit to the dry cleaners! We ended the night in the pub and there were many sore heads the next morning.

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Season Review

There will be some outgoings and incomings in the summer but for now I've told the players to just enjoy the occasion as they've thoroughly deserved it! I didn't think promotion was a possibility when I first started at the club but everything's come together amazingly. I will now look forward to pre season and get my scouts to do some assessments on some targets I've been looking at. Next season will be a struggle with what I see will be a very young squad and avoiding relegation will be the priority alongside giving young players a lot of game time. All in all a fantastic few months! The highlights this season include our win against Derry City in the cup, our thrilling comeback win against Athlone Town, our performances in the play offs and the development of Patton and Tiofack. Of course none of this would be possible without the goals from McHugh 31 goals in 32 games is astonishing for any player let alone a 33 year old.


Position- 3rd

Goals For- 46
Goals Against- 36
Biggest Win- 4-1 Athlone Town
Biggest Loss- 2-3, 4-5 and 2-1 (only 1 goal losses all season!)
Biggest  Attendance- 1,401 Waterford Utd
Lowest Attendance- 343 Salthill 
Top Scorer- McHugh 31
Top Assist- McCarron 10
Highest Average Rating- McHugh 7.36

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McHugh was named the First Division Player Of The Year after his goal scoring exploits. He also finished 3rd in the Irish Bronze Boot award! 

Sean McCarron and McHugh were also named in the Team Of The Year to cap off a brilliant season.


A few little drips and drabs for the minute as I get the yearly training reports from my assistant McHugh, Tiofack, Gallagher, Forker and Doherty all improved throughout the season and impressed myself and the coaching staff. It's now the end of season break and some of the players will return on the 1st January hopefully fresh and raring to go after a excellent season.


Patton was called up to the Ireland Under 19 Squad after a solid season in goal for us. I'm very pleased for him. He seems very excited and so he should be!


Patton won his first game for Ireland Under 19's as they saw of the Czech Republic 3-1. I was told he was solid throughout the game. 

In other news the club were hit with an £8,000 tax bill based on our earnings this season. 

The club announced an additional sponsor worth around £15,000 for a year. Once again this will be highly helpful when bringing in new players throughout the next few months. Based on our finances the board have given me a transfer budget of £6,350 and a wage budget of £4,400 which is an upgrade from last season. I'm hoping I can start bringing some new players in within the next few weeks.

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We made our first signings of my reign as we snapped up 21 year old Kevin Knight who was without a club. Knight is a versatile defender but I will mostly be looking to play him at left back in a replacement for the departing Coll.

Also arriving is attacking midfielder Francis McCarthy. At the age of 20 he has some very promising attributes and I'll be looking to utilise him behind our front man this season.


Today we signed unattached winger Nathan Murphy after his release from Dundalk. Not only is he a great crosser he also will be our free kick taker with his insanely great left foot. Murphy can also play at left back. I think he will be a great asset. 

We also welcome Dylan Vickers to the club. Vickers is a very good technical footballer who will slot into the midfield to cover our departing players this season. Vickers has played for Bray Wanderers for 2 seasons and found himself without a club. 

In our third signing of the day we snapped up Paul Devins after his contract with Sligo expired a few days ago. Devins is a solid centre back with good leadership skills  who could  be the skipper of the club when I feel he's ready.


Graham Dowling signs today on a free transfer from Longford Town. Dowling is 23 years old and he can play centre back or right back. He will add some more cover for our defence for the  season. I don't envisage any more transfers in now until we get rid of some of the older players in the squad. I like to keep a good balance on the books as well to build for the future.

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The rankings came out today in my inbox, the club have managed to slightly improve our reputation. Sligo are the top dogs in Ireland at the moment.

The Football Express gave out their annual awards today. We were awarded biggest overachievers after our promotion, it was based off how we finished 3rd after our media prediction was 4th. Unsurprisingly Kevin McHugh was given the Golden Boot award. Biggest underachievers were Longford Town after failure to make the play offs.


I was informed the latest Youth Products were available to me. Kieran McGann will clearly be an amazing player. His crossing and tackling is already one of the best at the club, I will be monitoring his development closely.  Gareth Logan will be another player to keep an eye on. Logan can play across the back 4 and act as a defensive midfielder.  Both players are 15 years old, as soon as they become available for the first team they will be getting some minutes.

On another note I've told the board that I expect us to avoid relegation back to the second tier. I think we can comfortably avoid the drop if the team play to their potential. If last season is anything to go by I really believe in this crop of players. The media prediction is to finish bottom with odds of 1000-1. Myself and the team would love to prove the media wrong

We were given around £25,000 for our TV rights this season. 

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In a quiet month with not much to report on the first team are back in training with no injuries of note which is great for pre season as they will all be getting some minutes in the next few friendlies. 

We were drawn against Derry City in the League Cup. I hope we can dump them out of another competition this season.



Fanad Utd 0-1 Finn Harps

Tiofack (66)


Letterkenny 1-2 Finn Harps

Tiofack (36,51)


Finn Harps 0-1 Dundalk

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Derry City 3-0 Finn Harps

We got handed a harsh lesson in our first Premier League game as we got soundly beaten by local rivals Derry City. The team were off the pace from the first whistle and we need to be a lot better than that in all aspects of the pitch. Derry were 2 goals up within 20 minutes and we barely got a kick in all afternoon. They are a good team and predicted to finish third this season, this is the kind of level I would love us to be at eventually. A steep learning curve for myself and the team.


The club announced we have sold 128 season tickets for the season. Up 4 from last year. Hopefully we can get a few fan days in and boost attendances over the long term.


Finn Harps 1-1 Shamrock Rovers

We got our first point of the season against Shamrock but we really should of won this game with the amount of chances we had. We made a poor start and Shamrock scored the first goal of the game after 4 minutes after a poor clearance found the opposition striker who was in a world of space and had enough power on his shot to beat Patton. The team responded brilliantly and new signing McCarthy made a great run down the wing before smashing the ball beyond the Shamrock goalkeeper. We edged the first half and the Shamrock goalkeeper who was voted man of the match made some timely saves including one where he tipped Tiofacks volley onto the crossbar and out for a corner. We continued into the second half as we ended the first as we peppered the Shamrock goal with shot after shot. We hit the post through McCaffrey and substitute McHugh had a header cleared off the line as we tried in vein for the second goal but unfortunately it never came.

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Cork City 5-3 Finn Harps

We let up a 2 goal lead as Cork City came from behind to beat us in an entertaining game. We trailed after 5 minutes as a defensive mistake from Mallie cost us the first goal. We were level 2 minutes later from a speculative shot from McHugh found its way past the keeper. Dylan Vickers grabbed his first goal for the club around the half hour mark as we turned the game around from a  nice shot from outside the area. It got even better for us just before half time as McHugh smashed in from inside the area. Cork came out firing second half and scored 2 goals in 5 minutes as the defence couldn't cope with the pace of Anthony Elding. The game was put to bed in the 85th minute as the Cork City substitute once again exposed the tiring defence and rounded Patton to slot in for Corks first 3 points of the season. 

Very disappointed with the way we crumbled. We sit bottom after 3 games. We can find the net easily enough but need to work on defending. I changed the training shortly after the game to work on defence which will hopefully help us keep the ball out of the net.

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Irish League Cup 1st Round

Finn Harps 1-0 Derry City

We dumped Derry City out of the League Cup after a tight game at Finn Park. It was goalless in the first 30 minutes until veteran striker McHugh gave us the lead with a close range effort. The team did brilliantly to hold out until half time with Patton making two unbelievable saves from a corner. I tweaked the formation in the second half to make us a bit more defensive. It seems to of worked as we nullified most Derry attacks. Derry had majority of the ball but failed to make possession count. We made more of the chances in the second half and were unlucky not to go in front as Tiofack hit the post and then was stretchered off due to a bad fall. He'll be out 4-5 weeks which is a massive miss for us. The team saw out the rest of the half as we advanced into round 2 of the cup.


Finn Harps 0-3 Dundalk

I was furious at the officials as we are still searching for our first league win this season. We had 3 goals disallowed and a penalty shout turned down as Dundalk scored from their only 3 shots on target. Simon Kelly scored after 13 minutes to give the away team an early lead. McHugh then headed in at 20 minutes but the linesman gave a dubious offside. We then peppered the Dundalk goal for the rest of the half but found the keeper in fine form. Nathan Murphy then headed in from a free kick after the break but once again the linesman somehow saw a shove in the box. Dundalk went 2 goals up with 20 minutes left as Patton was undone at his near post. To add insult to injury McHugh volleyed in from another free kick but once again the officials weren't happy with the challenge for him to get to the ball. Dundalk rubbed salt in our wounds as they were given a penalty in the 90th minute to end the game 3 goals up. We need to arrest this slide but it's looking like more of a challenge each game.

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We welcome young striker Greg Kerrigan to the club. Kerrigan was unattached after his Shelbourne contract expired in the summer. At the age of 21 I hope McHugh can mentor him for the future.


Sligo Rovers 3-1 Finn Harps

Our poor form continues as we got taught a lesson in finishing by title challengers Sligo. We were 2 goals down within the first 20 minutes and it was always going to be a mountain to climb after that. Doherty gave us hope after the break when he met Kerrigan's neat little through ball to beat the keeper. Our job was made a lot harder when Murphy was sent off for a second yellow card 10 minutes from time. Sligo themselves went down to 10 men 5 minutes later but Danny North saw Patton off his line and he lobbed the keeper from outside the area. We are winless in the league and on this showing I have no idea where the first win will come from. 

Edited by Cider Drinker
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St Pats Athletic 3-0 Finn Harps

Our winless run carries on as we were played off the park by St Pats. We continued our poor ways by conceding again within 10 minutes straight from a corner. We were 2 down by the half hour mark as Quigley volleyed in a peach of a shot from 30 yards out which left Patton grasping at thin air. Kerrigan very nearly got us back in the game but he could only hit the crossbar with just the keeper to beat. The game was effectively over by half time when Brennan slotted past Patton after being put through by Quigley. We did play a lot better second half but it wasn't enough as not only are we conceding so much our goal scoring touch has also left us. We sit bottom of the league with 1 point after 6 games with little to shout about.

Edited by Cider Drinker
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Finn Harps 2-2 Drogheda Utd

We halted our losing run with a hard fought draw against second bottom Drogheda. We continue to start poorly in matches and we were 1 down after a swift counter attack ended in the first goal of the game. Forker has been under pressure from the media with his underwhelming performances but he came up with the goods with a calm finish past the on rushing goalie. Unfortunately we weren't level for long as Gary O'Neil smacked in a long range free kick just before the half time whistle. We came out and battered Drogheda second half and were back level when Kerrigan out muscled the centre back and powered home a header from Forkers hopeful cross. Drogheda were down to 10 men for the last 10 minutes but we couldn't find a way through. Our losing streak is over but our winless run goes on.

Edited by Cider Drinker
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Finn Harps 2-1 Bohemians

Our winless run is finally over as we saw off 3rd placed Bohemians at Finn Park. We had to do it the hard way after falling behind in the 15th minute to a sweetly struck free kick from Roberto Lopes. It was one of the best bend of a football I've seen for a long time. Mark Forker scored his second goal in as many games after being put through by Kieran McGann. We started the second half brightly and Kerrigan was so unlucky to see a header cannon back off the post. Patton made a great reflex save after the hour mark to keep us level going into the latter stages of the half Kerrigan found himself in yards of space with just the keeper to beat and he scuffed his shot but it found the back of the net with 10 minutes left. I was a nervous wreck going into the last 5 minutes as Bohemians threw the kitchen sink at us but we threw everything back at them and came away with 3 vital points.

Edited by Cider Drinker
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Shelbourne 3-0 Finn Harps

A terrible performance saw us fall back to bottom in the league after a loss to previously bottom Shelbourne. Robert McGhee was in fine form before the match and he scored a hat trick  to his credit as the defence crumbled. Something isn't quite right at the minute with the team and I need to maybe sort a few bonding sessions out and tweak the formation as we keep shipping way too many goals. The objective is safety now but we need to start performing better against the teams near us in the table. I think it may be a long old season as we've now shipped 24 goals in just 9 games. 

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Finn Harps 0-0 Athlone Town

We kept a rare clean sheet at we managed to keep Athlone Town at bay. Patton was rightly named man of the match after some incredible saves. One most importantly from a penalty in the 85th minute. Athlone were the better team in a match low on quality as the defence stood firm. Graham Dowling as another stand out player in this match as he made several great tackles and some sterling runs throughout the game. 


Shamrock Rovers 1-1 Finn Harps

We nicked a point against fellow strugglers Shamrock after a late equaliser. We didn't play well in the first half and it was unsurprising that we found ourselves a goal down within the first 20 minutes. Striker Karl Sheppard smashed in a loose ball from a corner to give the greens a deserved lead. Rovers peppered our goal for the rest of the half but we did very well to just be a goal down before the break. Second half was a vast improvement as substitute James Doherty started to boss the midfield. We were back on level terms just past the hour mark as Doherty  rifled home a half volley to  stun the home contingent. After that it was all Shamrock as they started to regain control of the game. We kept it tight at the back however and managed to take home a valuable point in our fight against relegation.

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Finn Harps 0-2 Derry City

Top of the table Derry City should feel aggrieved that they didn't win by more than just the 2 goals as they dominated us today. Derry controlled possession first half and made it count after a smart passing move saw Robbie Gibson score a cracking 25 yard shot into the top corner of the net. It was one way traffic rest of the half but we held firm and went into the break just the 1 goal down. We did start the second half a lot better and had two shots in quick succession in which the Derry goalkeeper was more than equal to and clawed the ball off the goal line. Derry showed a lot of class after this bright spell from us and took control of proceedings halfway through the second half as striker Rory Patterson slotted past Patton who was a bit slow to get down to the shot. That goal gave Derry a lot of confidence and they ended the game with 14 shots on goal, 9 of which were on target. We had Patton to thank to save us from a thrashing as we embark on another winless run.

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