Finn Harps in the doldrums following latest defeat
Airtricity League Premier Division: St Patrick’s Athletic 4 Finn Harps 0
DONEGAL’S Mark Timlin recorded a brace at Richmond Park on Tuesday, when Finn Harps fell to their second SSE Airtricity League Premier Division defeat in the space of five days at the hands of St Patrick’s Athletic.
This game was brought forward from the start of July because of the Europa League commitments of the home team, and it presented Harps with an ideal opportunity to atone for their heavy home loss against league leaders Dundalk last Friday.
But Ollie Horgan’s side fell behind with just nine minutes gone on the clock in Inchicore. Following excellent approach work by Billy Dennehy and Ger O’Brien, Conan Byrne received the ball on the right-flank, and his inch-perfect cross was comfortably finished to the net by Timlin.
The Buncrana native had also been on target for Pat’s in their 2-1 triumph over the same opposition at Finn Park last month, but despite suffering this early setback, the visitors were close to levelling matters from the subsequent attack.
The ball had fallen nicely for winger Tony McNamee in a central area, and Pat’s custodian Brendan Clarke had to be at his best to tip his delicate long-range lob past the post for a corner. This was a positive initial response from Harps, but even though Barry Molloy and Sean Houston were providing plenty of industry in the middle-third, they were ultimately facing into a two-goal deficit in the 41st-minute.
Byrne was one of the key performers on the night for Pat’s, and after cutting inside from the right-wing, he unleashed a left-footed strike that proved to be too strong for Harps netminder Ciaran Gallagher.
Kevin McHugh was introduced for McNamee just beyond the hour mark in an effort to inject fresh impetus into the Harps attack, and Pat’s did receive a hammer blow when Byrne was forced out of the action through injury on 65 minutes.
Yet, this didn’t upset the balance of the south Dublin outfit, and they placed the tie beyond doubt four minutes later when Dennehy coolly fired to the bottom left-hand corner of the Harps net after collecting Timlin’s precise through-ball.
Harps almost claimed a late consolation when Sean Houston had a 82nd-minute shot cleared off the line, but following Timlin’s second goal in the closing moments, Harps remain in eighth position in the top-flight on the back of this resounding reversal.