Sean Houston

Sean Houston scored the first

St. Patrick’s Athletic 1-2 Finn Harps

Finn Harps came from behind to bag their first three points of the new League of Ireland Premier Division against St. Patrick’s Athletic at Inchicore. Ollie Horgan’s outfit recovered from a horrendous start when a Jonny Bonner error saw Graham Kelly capitalize to make it 1-0 for the hosts in just the third minute of the game.

But goals from Sean Houston in the 18th minute and Ciaran O’Connor just before break put the visitors in front and they did magnificently to hold on for a rare victory at Richmond Park.

Horgan had made four changes from the 1-1 draw with Galway Utd at Finn Park. Damian McNulty returned at right-back while Gareth Harkin made his first full start of the season at left-back, a position he hadn’t played in for a couple of seasons. And captain Ciaran Coll was moved to centre-half to partner Kilian Cantwell meaning that Packie Mailey dropped out of the starting 11.

Ethan Boyle was deployed in the middle of the park in the absence of Barry Molloy with Bonner coming in for Paddy McCourt who despite a knee injury was named among the subs and came on for the final stages of the game, which included an agonizing six minutes of injury-time. And up front Danny Morrissey returned in place of Eddie Dsane. Former U19 player Simon McGlynn named appeared on the substitutes list for the first time in a competitive game.

Despite the early setback Harps pushed forward and got back on level terms on 18 minutes when Sean Houston produced a super finish from just inside the penalty area after a poor Pat’s clearance. Former Sligo Rovers defender Gavin Peers almost had the hosts backing in front straight with a header that came back of the crossbar.

Another defender error, this time by the home team’s Michael Barker, saw Caolan McAleer taking advantage to setup Ciaran O’Connor for a tap-in just before the interval. Graham Kelly had an early equalizing chance just after restart but he shot well wide of Ciaran Gallagher’s goal. Pat’s sub Christy Fagan also came close with a header but Harps held on for their first victory of the season. It’s been a pretty good three days for the Donegal men after that draw against Galway on Friday and moves them onto four points. Now Hogan and his assistant start the planning for Saturday evening’s away fixture against Limerick F.C. at the Markets Field.

St. Patrick’s Athletic – Barry Murphy; Michael Barker, Gavin Peers, Lee Desmond, Ian Bermingham; Patrick Cregg, Graham Kelly (Kurtis Byrne 60), Jonathan Lunney; Conan Byrne, Billy Dennehy (Alex O’Hanlon 80); John O’Hanlon (Christy Fagan 68)

Subs not used: Conor O’Malley (Gk), Rory Feely, Darragh Markey, Sam Verdon. Finn Harps – Ciaran Gallagher; Damien McNulty, Kilian Cantwell, Ciaran Coll, Gareth Harkin; Ethan Boyle, Sean Houston, Jonny Bonner (Paddy McCourt 77), Caolan McAleer (Packie Mailey 93), Danny Morrissey (Michael Funston, 83), Ciaran O’Connor. Subs not used: Harry Doherty, Tommy McMonagle, Eddie Dsane, Simon McGlynn.

Referee: Ben Connolly

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