Jake Walker 83' -
ST. PATRICK’S ATHLETIC
The mid-season break looms but there’s still a little bit of business to be attended to. St. Patrick’s Athletic play host to Finn Harps this Friday in the SSE Airticity League Premier Division (kick-off 7.45 p.m.).
Fifth-placed Pat’s are well ahead of their north-west rivals, who are firmly rooted to the bottom of the table, but the Inchicore side will be hoping to add to their wins and goals for columns after a recent run of low score draws.
Pat’s have scored late in successive weeks to secure stalemates against Cork City at home and away in Sligo but will be looking for a boost ahead of the Europa League draw next week.
Richmond park supremo Harry Kenny must plan without midfielder Jamie Lennon who remains with the Republic of Ireland squad as they prepare to face Mexico for third place in the Toulon Tournament, while Dave Webster misses out through suspension. The Saints will welcome defender Lee Desmond and midfielder Conor Clifford back into contention after their respective injury layoffs.
Looking ahead to this week’s match, Kenny admitted to www.stpatsfc.com that he was anticipating a tricky assignment against the Donegal side following the sides’ scoreless draw in Inchicore earlier in the season.
“Harps will give us a real test as they are starting to pick up a few more results lately as they settle into the division. We had a tough game against them in Inchicore earlier in the season and we expect another difficult game this Friday.
“We want to finish this first part of the season with a win so we’ll be going out to pick the points. We played well last week against and created a lot of chances so hopefully this week we can do the same and convert a few.”
Eighteen points adrift of Pat’s, it has been a frustrating run for Finn Harps since those two encouraging successive victories against U.CD. and Waterford at the beginning of last month.
Four consecutive league defeats since then see Harps behind U.C.D. on goal difference. The Finn Park side also exited the EA Sports Cup at the hands of arch rivals Derry City.
Speaking to the Finn Harps media team before the Pat’s match, manager Ollie Horgan declared that he and his team have been solely focused this week on looking forward to and getting something from the game in Richmond Park. “We can’t go back and change what has happened over the last four games, but we have a chance now to turn things around against Pat’s. That won’t be easy but the lads have to step up and try to make it happen. We did draw up there in the early stages of the season and it would be great to repeat that result,” declared Horgan.
Harps lost 2-0 to St. Pat’s in April at Finn Park and Harry Kenny’s men sit fifth in the table, 18 points ahead of Horgan’s outfit who remain bottom on goal difference from UCD. “We have the two-week break coming up after tomorrow night so it would be great if we could produce a performance that would give everyone at the club boost for the restart of the league at the end of the month.”
Horgan’s injury list remains long with John Kavanagh, Michael Gallagher, Harry Ascroft and Ciaran Gallagher still sidelined. However, the Ballybofey men will be boosted by the return to the squad of top scorer Caolan McAleer and Sean Boyd who have served their one match suspensions.
Referee: Neil Doyle.
St. Pat’s bagged all three points when the sides last met. That was a league encounter at Finn Park in April when Pat’s leading marksman Mikey Drennan scored in the second-half to add to Conor Clifford’s opener in a 2-0 victory.
Finn Harps earned their first away point of the 2019 season at Richmond Park back in February when both sides drew a blank before an attendance of 1,747.
Harps’ last win at Richmond Park was over two years ago, on March 13th, 2017 when the Donegal side came from behind to earn a 2-1 win. Pat’s exacted full revenge later that campaign with a resounding 4-0 victory at the Stadium of Light.
St. Patrick’s Athletic 2/5; Draw 7/2; Finn Harps 13/2.
St. Patrick’s Athletic 2 – 0 Finn Harps
St. Patrick’s Athletic
Suspended: Dave Webster.
Injured: John Kavanagh, Michael Gallagher, Harry Ascroft and Ciaran Gallagher.
Suspended: Mark Coyle.