Finn Harps celebrate their 60th anniversary this year and have released a fantastic video to commemorate the achievement.
2014 is a year of anniversaries for Finn Harps football club. 1954 was the year the club was founded, 60 years ago. Then a junior league club, Harps gained admission to the League of Ireland in 1969.
2004 saw the club lift their first ever league title, the First Division trophy. On that occasion the elusive trophy was lofted high into the Finn Park sky by Declan Boyle, 50 years after the formation of the club.
Ten years on, Harps have made their way into the semi-finals of the FAI Cup for the first time in 15 years, and more importantly, 40 years since their only ever win of the competition in 1974.
On that occasion, 20,000 people crammed into Dalymount Park, amidst a nationwide fuel crisis, to watch Brendan Bradley, Charlie Ferry, Jim Sheridan and co. beat St.Patrick’s Athletic on a scoreline of 3-1 on an historic night for the young club from Ballybofey.
Fittingly, forty years on, Harps have been drawn in the semi-final against St Patrick’s Athletic, and to co-incide with their ‘Harps60′ celebrations, and forty years on since their only cup success to-date, Harps this week have released a ‘Reeling in the Years – 1974’ video on Youtube and on DVD via the club in the build up to the game against the Premier Division 2013 Champions.
The video details Harps’ cup run in ’74, starting with the first round tie against Home Farm, quarter-final against Bohemians and semi-final game against Athlone Town, with some archived footage from RTÉ and a wonderful collection of photos throughout the year.
The image of Jim Sheridan, the Rathmullan native who became the first ever An Garda Siochana member to captain an FAI Cup Final team, lifting the FAI Cup in the old main stand in Dalymount Park, is a now iconic image for Harps fans young and old, while the legacy of the cup final in 1974 goes beyond Finn Harps, as it was the first ever cup final shown live on Irish television in colour.
Whether Harps can upset the odds on Sunday October the 5th in Inchicore remains to be seen. Of course, in 1974, Harps were a whole different animal, and the Harps team of the early 70’s is widely regarded as one of the best teams ever to play League of Ireland football without winning the league title.
Nevertheless, this video is a must watch for any League of Ireland fan, and certainly for any Finn Harps fan, superbly produced by Ciaran MacLochlainn of Diaga Design, with help from Harps club historian Bartley Ramsey and local photographer and Harps fan Gerard McHugh.
Nigel Hegarty, Pundit Arena.