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Friday 9 December 2016

Harps strings pull Coleman

Seamus Coleman playing for Sligo Rovers in 2008
Seamus Coleman playing for Sligo Rovers in 2008

Seamus Coleman is proof that life as a well-paid, high-profile Premier League player is not all film premieres and celebrity bashes.

Last Friday night, while in London to prepare for Everton's league game away to West Ham, the Killybegs man was glued to Highland Radio broadcasting online from his native county, with commentary from the League of Ireland's promotion/relegation play-off between Finn Harps and Limerick.

Split loyalties as his pal Shaun Kelly was playing for a defeated Limerick side but ex-Sligo Rovers man Coleman was still pleased to see Harps, from his home county, win the play-off and get promoted while his former club Sligo also achieved some success by avoiding that play-off in the first place and securing top flight football for next season.

As a Donegal lad, Coleman should - by rights - have lined out for Harps but instead signed for Sligo as a teen, though one manager (Rob McDonald) clearly didn't rate the young Coleman and planned to send him out on loan to Harps. But McDonald suddenly left the club, Coleman got into the team and the rest is history.

"I wasn't expecting Sligo to be where they were but I wasn't expecting Harps to be there either," said Coleman, who knows the Harps boss well.

"Ollie Horgan, I had him as manager at Ulster Schools level years ago.

"He's a great man. I don't think many people gave them a chance when he got the post. He's done a fantastic job.

"It was a strange night, one of my friends plays for Limerick, Shaun Kelly, he's from Killybegs.

"It was a tough night, as Finn Harps are from Donegal, I wanted them to do well but obviously I wanted Shaun to do well.

"I was listening to it on the radio," he added.

While his ex-boss Horgan enjoyed his weekend, another former manager of Coleman faces a grim time as David Moyes, who blooded a young Coleman at Everton, was sacked by Real Sociedad.

"With social media, the rumours were coming through on Sunday night," said Coleman.

"I've great respect for him, what he done for me with the help of the scout who took me from Sligo.

"He was tough on me but fair. He's a really really good manager and just disappointed the way the last 18 months have gone for him. He's a great manager and a great man."

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