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Council to honour Finn Harps at Civic Reception today

 Finn harps reception

Donegal County Council will honour Finn Harps Football Club with a civic reception this evening in the County House, Lifford at 6pm.


This reception is being hosted to mark not only Finn Harps promotion to the premier division of the League of Ireland but also to acknowledge their outstanding contribution to the community through their many programmes and initiatives.


Speaking before the civic reception, Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council Cllr. Ciaran Brogan expressed his delight at being in a position to recognise and honour the many achievements and outstanding contributions of Finn Harps Football Club to, not only Ballybofey and Stranorlar, but to the entire county.


“Finn Harps Football Club have a Senior Team, an under 19 and an under 17 team, they have an academy with 130 children registered and they reach as many as 5,000 children through their schools programme.  Finn Harps Football Club is an exemplar of how sport can be used as a tool to reach out and touch the lives of children and young people throughout our communities.


“The Finn Harps Road Safety Schools Art Competition has become an annual event in the road safety calendar in Donegal with up to 400 children entering the competition each year.  This competition has helped the Council along with the Donegal Road Safety Working Group to put road safety at the top of the agenda for children and young people.


“This year again, the Finn Harps Football Club are ahead of the curve with their Eat Right, Play Right schools programme which they are delivering in association with Donegal Sports Partnership and which is the first of it’s kind in the country.


“Finn Harps generates approximately €305,000 for the local economy annually and this year it will be closer to €500,000.  They make a huge contribution to the local economy in Ballybofey and Stranorlar with 4,000 people in town for the recent Derry City match and 1,500 people on average attending their home games every second week.


“Finn Harps is a fan owned club and their supporters is at the heart of all their achievements and I am delighted, on behalf of the elected members of Donegal County Council and the management and staff of the Council to recognise and honour both their sporting achievements and their outstanding contribution to our community.”




Formed in 1954 as a Junior Club, Finn Harps won the FAI Junior Cup in 1968 and directors Fran Fields and Patsy McGowan applied for membership of League of Ireland and were admitted into Senior Football in May 1969.  They won the Dublin City Cup in 1971-72 and the FAI Cup in 73-74 season beating St Patricks Athletic 3-1.


They qualified for European competitions four times including the UEFA Cup 3 times (Aberdeen, Derby County & Everton) and the European Cup Winners Cup in Bursaspor (Turkey).


They were runners up in the League of Ireland in 1974 and 75 and through the 1970s, the club never once finished in the bottom half of the table and were widely respected for their attractive and attacking football style.


The 1980s saw a gradual decline of the club in terms of competing with the best in Ireland.  An FAI Cup semi-final in 1981 and a League of Ireland First Division Shield final defeat by EMFA were the highlights of the decade for them and by 1985 the club had been relegated to the newly formed First Division.   From 1992 to 1994 the club finished in the play-off position twice. 


Off the field in the 1996/97 season, committee members set the club up as a co-operative society, selling shares to the ordinary supporters, to ensure that the club would be owned and run by the people who they felt would truly care about it.  A long-term blueprint for the future was put in place.


Finn Harps went on to win promotion at the end of the 1995/96 season and where the FAI Cup Finalists in 1999 losing to Bray Wanderers after a number of replays.  They remained in the Premier Division until 2000. During the next decade they won promotion twice but didn’t remain in the premier division for a sustained period of time.


On 25 November 2013, Galway native, and former Fanad United manager Ollie Horgan was named manager for the 2014 season and on the 6th November 2015, the Harps secured promotion to the League of Ireland Premier Division by beating Limerick F.C. 2-1 on aggregate in a relegation/promotion playoff.


Management and Team

The following management and team players will be honoured at this evenings civic reception: Ollie Horgan, Manager, Gavin Dykes, Assistant Manager, Sean Quinn, Chairman, John Campbell, Secretary, Ciaran Coll, Captain and players Ciarán Gallagher, Damien McNulty, Keith Cowan, Packie Mailey, Gareth Harkin, Tommy McMonagle, Ryan McConnell, Seán Houston, BJ Banda, Adam Hanlon, Josh Mailey, Michael Funston, Raymond Foy, Ryan Curran, Kevin McHugh, Tony McNamee, Matthew Crossan, Barry Molloy, Dave Scully, Lee McCarron, Ethan Boyle, Michael Rafter, Liam Flatley, Gareth Doherty, Richard Brush.

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