Luckless Harps lose to St Pats

Ollie Horgan's side deserve better after impressive display

Luckless Harps lose to St Pats
By Diarmaid Doherty @dgldemocrat

The celebrations among the St. Pat's players, management and their small band of supporters told its own story on the final whistle.

Finn Harps 1

St. Patrick's Athletic 2

Even their manager, Liam Buckley, admitted afterwards that his team were relieved to have taken all three points.

He'd watched as his team were outplayed and out-fought for much of the second half.

But minutes after Harps struck the woodwork through Ryan Curran, St. Pat's delivered two sucker-punches when Packie Mailey's unfortunate own goal was quickly followed by Mark Timlin's strike.

Kevin McHugh's late penalty was nothing more than consolation for a Harps side who will rightly feel, they deserved better.

“I think we did enough as regards energy, chances and as regards workrate to merit something out of the game,” Harps manager Ollie Horgan said.

“But I don’t think defensively Pats made any mistakes there tonight. We made one, possibly two with the ball over the top for Mark Timlin’s goal.

“Had we got the first goal, and we had plenty of chances to get the first goal, I think it would have been a different story.

“When Pat's scored, albeit against the run of play, we had to come out and they picked us off on the break.

“You can see the quality that they have with the likes of Christy Fagan and Mark Timlin, who got what turned out to be the winning goal. Had we gone 1-0 up and we had been able to sit a bit deeper, it might have been a different outcome.

“But we’ll take our oil. Pat's are a very decent side and fair play to them. They won here tonight and got a great result and we wish them well.”

Horgan said his players were “devastated” at the result. Their second half performance was as good as their supporters have seen at Finn Park for some time.

Curran's shot off the post was a wonderful effort and came at a time when Harps were in control. Sean Houston, back in the starting eleven for the first time since the opening game of the season, had also gone close after a mesmerising piece of skill on the left from Tony McNamee.

Harps also had claims for a penalty when Packie Mailey appeared to be pulled inside the area.

In fairness to St. Pat's however, they had started much the better of the two sides and could have been in front in the opening minute when Conan Byrne's wonderful volley was well saved by Richard Brush.

The Harps keeper was certainly the busier of the two netminders in that first half, and looked pretty assured.

However, Brush had a nightmare moment on 68 minutes when he misjudged the flight of a St. Pat's corner and when he missed his catch, the ball went in to the net off the unfortunate Packie Mailey.

Immediately after that, Harps went close again. A corner at the other end was headed goalwards by Damien McNulty but the ball hit a defender on the line.

Then on 76, St. Pat's struck for their second when Timlin got in behind the Harps defence and produced a neat finish to beat Brush.

At times, the game threatened to get out of control when players became involved in several heated dust-ups. Referee, Ben Connolly, issued a string of yellow cards as the temperature rose.

Close to the end, Horgan was sent to the stands following an incident on the sideline when he threw the ball to Ian Bermingham, only for it to hit the St. Pat's player on the back of the head.

Horgan watched the last few minutes among the Harps supporters in the main stand and they were given reason to cheer right at the death when Kevin McHugh converted from the spot after a foul on McNamee.

But despite over four minutes of injury time, Harps just couldn't find the equaliser.

Finn Harps: Richard Brush, Damien McNulty, Ciaran Coll, Keith Cowan, Packie Mailey, Gareth Harkin, Ryan Curran, Sean Houston (Liam Flatley 81), Dave Scully (Kevin McHugh 81), Ethan Boyle (Michael Funston 53), Tony McNamee.

St. Patrick's Athletic: Brendan Clarke, Michael Barker, Ian Bermingham, Darren Dennehy (Jason McGuinness 60), Sean Hoare, David Cawley, Conan Byrne, Shane McEleney, Mark Timlin, Christy Fagan, Billy Dennehy.

Referee: Ben Connolly.