St Pats cruised to a 4-0 victory against a tired-looking Finn Harps side on Tuesday evening at Richmond Park. A brace from Mark Timlin along with goals from Conan Byrne and Billy Dennehy saw Liam Buckley’s side record their third home victory of the season.
The Saints had the game's first chance inside the opening two minutes when Graham Kelly found Dennehy from a free-kick over the top, but he failed to find the target with his first-time volley.
Seven minutes later, the hosts broke the deadlock through Timlin. A lovely cross field ball from Kelly found Dennehy, who released Ger O’Brien, and the skipper's low cross was tapped in by the winger from close range.
Despite falling behind, Harps had an instant chance to respond through Tony McNamee after the midfielder struck a dipping volley from 25 yards, but his effort was pushed behind by Brendan Clarke.
From the resulting corner, Packie Mailey could only head wide after the defender got inside free inside the box.
Soon after, Harps had another chance when Adam Hanlon cut in from the right flank, but he pulled his low strike wide of the goal.
As the hosts continued to search for a second goal that would give them some breathing space, Kelly was again involved in their next opportunity when his free-kick found Dennehy, but, like in the opening minutes, he blazed wide deep inside the box.
Three minutes before the break, Saints doubled their advantage through Byrne. Lee Desmond found the Pats winger free on the right flank before he allowed to glide down the wing before cutting in and striking low past Ciaran Gallagher. Despite the keeper getting a foot to the ball, he failed to prevent it from crossing the goal line.
With chances limited during the opening 20 minutes of the second period, Saints skipper O’Brien could only fire wide minutes after the restart before Michael Barker headed wide from a corner moments later.
The Saints sealed victory with 20 minutes to go when Timlin found Dennehy with a lovely through ball and the Kerry native raced towards goal before firing low past the onrushing goalkeeper.
Minutes later, Pats had another chance to extend their lead, but Dennehy, Timlin and Barker all failed to trouble Gallagher in the Harps goal.
Harps' best chance of the half arrived with eight minutes remaining when Sean Houston's headed effort from close range forced a brilliant stop from Clarke.
St Pats added a fourth three minutes before time when Timlin grabbed his second off the game, after the ball appeared to bounce of a Harps defender and he fired home from close range.
After conceding 11 goals in their last two league games, Finn Harps host FAI Intermediate Cup winner Crumlin United in the Second round of the FAI Cup on Friday evening, while Saints welcome Pike Rovers to Richmond Park on Saturday afternoon.
St Patrick's Athletic: Brendon Clarke; Ger O’Brien, Rory Feely, Lee Desmond, Michael Barker; Conan Byrne (Dylan McGlade 65), Graham Kelly, Sam Verdon, Mark Timlin; Jame McGrath, Billy Dennehy (Keith Treacy 76).
Subs Not Used: Pat Jennings, Kieran Kelly, Darragh Markey, Shane McEleney, Dinny Corcoran.
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher, Ethan Boyle, Damien McNulty, Packie Mailey (Ryan McConnell 72), Ciaran Coll; Tony McNamee (Kevin McHugh 62), Barry Molloy, Sean Houston, David Scully (Michael Funston 72), Adam Hanlon; Ryan Curran.
Subs Not Used: Richard Brush, Liam Flatley, Keith Cowan.
Booked: Damien McNulty (68), Ciaran Coll (85).
Referee: Ray Mathews.
Attendance: 750 (estimate).
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Billy Dennehy (St Patrick’s Athletic).