Sunday 22 September 2019

Clifford puts Saints in tune to beat Harps

Finn Harps 0 St Patrick's Athletic 2

St Patrick's Athletic's Conor Clifford
St Patrick's Athletic's Conor Clifford

What was already a good week got even better for St Patrick's Athletic as their north-west passage finished off with a morale-boosting win, away to Finn Harps.

A goal in each half from Conor Clifford and top scorer Mikey Drennan gave Harry Kenny's side a deserved 2-0 win at a sparsely-attended Finn Park, the official attendance of 659 looking very much on the generous side.

The Saints had started the holiday weekend on a high, beating Sligo Rovers 2-1 on Good Friday. That result came after they learned that Waterford FC's exclusion from the Europa League would see Pat's get a ticket to Europe.

And they looked dominant from the off in a sun-drenched Ballybofey. It was only the top-class goalkeeping of Peter Burke between the posts for Harps which kept them in the game before Conor Clifford broke the deadlock on 35 minutes.

Rhys McCabe played the ball to Clifford's feet from a corner kick and ex-Chelsea man Clifford, who had been denied twice by Burke, found a way through a pile of bodies to get the ball over the line.

Harps did find the energy to pose something of a threat, Brendan Clarke called on to save as a Nathan Boyle shot was deflected.

The game was put beyond doubt on 68 minutes when Drennan scored from the penalty spot as John Kavanagh was penalised for a foul on Gary Shaw.

Harps fell to their 10th successive defeat, a club record.

Meanwhile, Dundalk kept up their pursuit of leaders Shamrock Rovers with a 3-1 win away to UCD, a third straight victory for the reigning champions.

Dundalk were made to work for the points as Yoyo Mahdy had given UCD the lead on 10 minutes, causing some panic among the Dundalk faithful.

But it took them just five minutes to score a goal of their own, Patrick Hoban with the equaliser.

Six minutes into the second half Michael Duffy made it 2-0 and former UCD player Georgie Kelly came off the bench to make it 3-1 in added time.

Shamrock Rovers are next up for Dundalk at Oriel Park on Friday night.

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