At 3.30pm on 17th August 1969 at Finn Park, Finn Harps played their first ever competitive senior football game. Although the outcome of the game against Shamrock Rovers resulted in a scoreline that many felt would contribute to a short stay at the top table, it proved anything but. Fast forward 54 years later and to last Friday evening, 6th October 2023, the eleven who put on the Harps shirt for the 7.45pm kick-off at the Market’s Field against Treaty United would be playing the 2000th competitive game for the club. We’re certainly come a long way.
Over that time, we’ve lost as many as we’ve won – 753 victories, 763 defeats and 484 draws. There’s not much difference in the number of goals we’ve scored or conceded – 2816 scored, 2821 conceded.
988 of the games have been played at Finn Park, 13 have been played in neutral venues while next week’s trip to Bray Wanderers will be our 1000th away game. Our 1000th competitive home game will be played at some stage in the summer of 2024 at Finn Park.
Jonathan Minnock has played in more of those 2000 games than anyone else, appearing in almost a quarter of every game we have played. ‘Minno’ has lined-out on 485 occasions for the Harps. Kevin McHugh is the only other player to make more than 400 appearances, and has a not-too-shabby 438 appearances. 16 players have played more than 250 games for the club, while a total of 70 have had the privilege of pulling on the jersey on more than 100 occasions, with Tony McNamee the only one of the current squad to have done so. 626 players have so far played senior football for the club, 71 of these only managing a single appearance.
Excluding own-goals, 316 players have scored for the club. Not surprisingly, the legendary Brendan Bradley has scored more than anyone else with 241. Kevin McHugh is again second on the list and has found the back of the net 186 times. Con McLaughlin, the first Donegal man to score 100 league goals, is the only other player to have scored more than the ton and has 138 in his tally. Jonathan Speak (83), Terry Harkin (80) and Joe Logan (52) have all passed the half-century in terms of goals in blue.
Patsy McGowan has managed the club in more games than any other Manager, taking charge of Harps in 489 games across three spells as Manager. Ollie Horgan, with 317 games to his name, has managed the club in more games in a single spell than any other Manager. Eunan Blake, Charlie McGeever and Jonathan Speak have each all taken charge for more than 100 games.
The total breakdown of the 2000 games is 1 Blaxnit Cup, 9 Dublin City Cup, 135 FAI Cup, 7 First Division Cup, 12 Irish News Cup, 132 League Cup, 25 Promotion/Relegation Play-Off, 59 Shield, 4 Top Four Cup, 5 Tyler Cup, 6 UEFA Cup, 2 UEFA Cup Winners Cup 1603 in the League. Of the league games, 423 are in the Premier Division, 740 in the First Division while 440 were played when the League was a single Division up until the 1984/85 season.
Many teams have come, gone, rebranded and reformed during the last 54 years. But through it all, Finn Harps remain.