Wednesday 23 January 2019

Buckley's young Saints get their wings as out-of-tune Harps trounced again

St Patrick's Ath 4 Finn Harps 0

St Patrick’s Athletic forward Mark Timlin scores his side’s first goal against Finn Harps at Richmond Park, Inchicore last night (SPORTSFILE)
St Patrick’s Athletic forward Mark Timlin scores his side’s first goal against Finn Harps at Richmond Park, Inchicore last night (SPORTSFILE)

Former Saint Christopher Forrester was back on home soil, as part of his summer break from duties with Peterborough United, to watch his St Patrick's Athletic side last night.

And the classy midfielder will have come away impressed with the new batch of Saints who helped Liam Buckley's side outclass Finn Harps in this 4-0 win for the Dublin club.

It's been a tough period of late for Pat's with just one win from the previous five games but last night they were in front after only nine minutes and in control from then on in, contributing more misery to Harps who have now conceded 11 goals in in the space of five days.

Veterans Conan Byrne and Billy Dennehy came up with a goal in each half, after that early opener from Timlin, but it was a night when the younger members of Buckley's side got a chance to shine.

Teenagers Jamie McGrath and Kevin Feely started, Kildare lad Feely impressive on his full league debut while six of the side that saw out the game for the home side were aged 21 or under, including the impressive sub Dylan McGlade.

The Saints still have a lot of work do to in terms of the title race but the win puts them back in touch and they're now just a point behind Derry City and Shamrock Rovers.

Harps were still smarting from Friday's 7-0 loss at home to Dundalk and some fans of the Donegal club queried the logic of playing the Pats game at this time, the fixture moved forward from the original July date to help the Saints avoid a fixture backlog when they begin their European campaign.

And once Pats took the lead on nine minutes, it was game over. Conan Byrne provided the cross and Donegal native Timlin had only to stab the ball over the line, his first goal in six games.

There was a brief flurry from Harps with a decent effort from Tony McNamee and an Adam Hanlon shot but a tired looking side struggled to make an impact.

Saints keeper Brendan Clarke saved without much stress from Hanlon on 41 minutes and right after that the home side were 2-0 up. Conan Byrne sped down the right wing, angled a shot for himself and while Harps keeper Ciaran Gallagher got a touch, the effort went in.

The Saints retained a hunger for goals and Billy Dennehy came up with the third goal on 70 minutes, running onto a ball from Timlin and stroking a well-placed shot past Gallagher.

Harps, who gave a league debut to ex-Manchester United Ryan McConnell as a late sub, were hit again four minutes from time, Timlin left unmarked to fire past fellow Donegal man Gallagher to claim his fifth league goal of the season.

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