Finn Harps manager Ollie Horgan has confirmed that threemore players goalkeeper Peter Burke, defender Niall Logue and striker MickeyPlace have re-signed ahead of the new League of Ireland Premier Division season, which starts in mid-February.
Moville man Peter Burke was brought to Finn Park in July 2017 by Horgan from Irish League Premier Division side Cliftonville. The 22-year-old had spent two seasons at Solitude, after returning from the Sunderland Youth Academy. Burke also represented the Republic of Ireland at U17 and U19 level. He played in the final league game of the season against Cabinteely which Harps won 7-1. Burke then played his part in the two final play-off games against Limerick F.C. after injury ruled out Ciaran Gallagher. “We have agreed terms with Peter for next season and that is important to have that done in terms of goalkeepers with Ciaran Gallagher having signed last week. Peter came in and did a very good job in those two final play-off games against Limerick which got us promoted. He will be competing again with Ciaran for the keeper position so we’re looking forward to working with the two of them in pre-season.”
Defender Niall Logue, who came from Derry City in July, has also agreed terms for the 2019 campaign. Horgan says that the big defender is an important addition as Harps will need a pool of players at the back ahead of what is going to be a very physically challenging season against teams with much bigger playing resources. “Niall came in during the transfer window in July. He gave us more scope at the back and it worked well in the second half of the season. We want to have adequate cover if possible in all positions. Niall has the opportunity now to push for a regular place in the team so it’s good to have him on board again.” Logue was once on the books at Irish League club Institute before moving to play college soccer with Yavapai College in Arizona. The 23-year-old was also with Ohio State University for two seasons playing in 19 games before coming back home to sign for Derry City.
Mikey Place has also put pen to paper again for Horgan who will be hoping that the young striker can flourish in the Premier Division after scoring nine times in his 15 games as Harps secured promotion to the top flight at the beginning of November. The former Sligo Rovers and Derry City attacker made his debut for Horgan’s side as a second-half substitute in the 1-1 draw with Wexford Youths at Ferrycarrig Park on the 25th of May.
One week later the 20-year-old scored on his first start in the 4-0 home win over bottom of the table Athlone Town. The Galway native came through the underage ranks at Sligo Rovers and signed his first professional contract with the Bit o’ Red in 2016. However, Place experienced difficultly in getting regular first team football at the Showgrounds during the early part of the 2017 season. He opted to transfer to Derry City where he remained until the end of that campaign.
The young striker played in a pre-season friendly for Galway United against Bohemians but didn’t sign a permanent deal at that time. So when fellow Galway man Horgan met Mikey last May he was persuaded to give it a go at Finn Park for the remainder of the 2018 season. And that proved a very good move for Place and Harps who lost only once in 15 league games on their way to promotion from the First Division.
Horgan is hoping that the young striker can now push on and adapt quickly to the pace of the Premier Division. “Mikey did well for us when he came to us in May. He got a couple of goals and settled in quickly and played a big role for us in the second half of the season. But, that’s in the past now. All our focus has to be on the Premier Division and we just hope now that Mikey can kick-on and make a big impression against quality defenses. Mikey has experience of the set-ups at Premier clubs like Sligo Rovers and Derry City so that should be a help to him. So he has another decent opportunity now to show what he can do at a higher level.”
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