LEAGUE OF IRELAND

O'Connor's winner gives Harps the points at St. Pat's

Brilliant victory for Ollie Horgan's side

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O'Connor's winner gives Harps the points at St. Pat's

Sean Houston, scored for the second game in-a-row on Monday night.

On-loan signing Ciaran O’Connor was the match-winner as Finn Harps came away with an unexpected victory at St. Patrick’s Athletic on Monday night.


St. Patrick’s Athletic . . . 1

Finn Harps . . . 2

The striker fired home the winning goal right on the stroke of half-time as Harps recorded a first win of the season.

The victory was all the more impressive given that Harps had to come from behind to take all three points.

They’d fallen a goal down after only three minutes when Graham Kelly took advantage of a mistake by Jonny Bonner to score.

Bonner was back in the side having been on the bench for the visit of Galway on Friday night. He took the place of Paddy McCourt while Damien McNulty, Gareth Harkin and Danny Morrissey were also included from the start.

Harps recovered from the early set-back by playing some decent football and they were back on level terms by the 19th minute. Michael Barker, the St. Pat’s defender, was guilty of a poor clearance and Houston picked up possession before finding the target. It was his second goal in as many games.

The home side almost regained the lead within two minutes when former Sligo man Gavin Peers saw a header come back off the woodwork.

But it was Harps who struck again on 44 minutes when Barker’s loose pass was pounced on by Caolan McAleer and his pass released O’Connor to score.

St. Pat’s pushed for a response in the second half but despite decent openings for Graham Kelly and then Conan Byrne, Harps held firm.

At the other end, McAleer fired over from distance.

Kurtis Byrne was introduced for the closing stages in place of Kelly and St. Pat’s then threw on the experienced Christy Fagan for Josh O’Hanlon. And Fagan almost had an immediate impact but his header from a Conan Byrne cross was just inches wide.

Harps, who brought on McCourt, Michael Funston and Packie Mailey as late substitutes, held out for what must surely be the surprise result of Monday night’s series of games in the top division.

St. Patrick’s Athletic: Barry Murphy, Michael Barker, Ian Bermingham, Lee Desmond, Gavin Peers, Conan Byrne, Patrick Cregg, Billy Dennehy (Alex O’Hanlon 80), Graham Kelly (Kurtis Byrne 62), Jonathan Lunney, Josh O’Hanlon (Christy Fagan 68).

Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher, Ethan Boyle, Ciaran Coll, Damien McNulty, Killian Cantwell, Jonny Bonner (Paddy McCourt 77), Gareth Harkin, Sean Houston, Danny Morrissey (Michael Funston 83), Ciaran O’Connor, Caolan McAleer (Packie Mailey 92).

Referee: Ben Connolly.