A deadly Danny Morrissey double – his first goals for the club – helped fire Finn Harps to a superb win over St Patrick’s Athletic that considerably tightens things at the foot of the Airtricity League Premier Division.
Finn Harps 3 St Patrick’s Athletic 1
Morrissey’s brace and a third by Packie Mailey handed Harps their first win in six League games and moved them off the bottom of the table on goal difference.
Morrissey was making his first start since picking up a hamstring in the 3-2 loss to Shamrock Rovers at the end of March and it was the former Cork City frontman who shot Harps to a much-needed three points, with Mailey’s first of the season giving Ollie Organ’s team a deserved win.
It was a superb first half by Harps, who took the lead in the ninth minute as Morrissey got there ahead of Conor O’Malley, who was caught out by the flight of Michael Funston’s cross and headed home his first goal in Harps colours.
Both sides had early attempts with Kurtis Byrne firing over the top for the Saints while Morrissey had too much elevation on his shot.
Before tonight, Harps had scored just once in their previous 548 minutes of football, but Morrissey bagged a second just before the half hour.
Gavin Peers made a hash of a back pass to O’Malley and Morrissey nipped in, rounded the ‘keeper and slotted home.
Funston wasn’t far away in between times with a ferocious effort that flew just over.
Morrissey’s second arrived a minute after Ian Bermingham floated a free kick into the side-netting.
Harps had four enforced changes to the side from that which lost 2-1 to Galway on Friday night. The suspended Kilian Cantwell and Ciaran O’Connor, along with the injured Paddy McCourt and Barry Molloy, were absent from the starting line-up, although Molloy made a late cameo appearance.
Packie Mailey, sporting a bandage on his head, came in for his first appearance since sustaining a head injury in the EA Sports Cup and it was the Convoy man who – still sporting a bandage on his head – headed in from Jonny Bonner’s free in the 42nd minute.
Harps had beaten Pat’s in their earlier meeting at Richmond Park and Liam Buckley endured another long evening here.
The Pat’s boss brought on Josh O’Hanlon and JJ Lunney at the break and the Dubliners did improve for the second half but the trouble was that the way back was too far.
Christy Fagan saw one attempt deflect wide down to Ciaran Gallagher’s right and Peers’ powerful header was hooked from the goal-line by the Harps captain Ciaran Coll.
Gallagher denied O’Hanlon with a strong save, but Fagan did pull a goal back eight minutes from the end as a brilliant close-range volley, from a Conan Byrne cross, beat Gallagher.
Byrne flashed wide with another decent chance for the visitors, but it was Harps’ night.
Harps join Pat’s, Galway, Sligo and Drogheda on 14 points – that scrap for survival just got a little more interesting.
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher; Damien McNulty, Packie Mailey, Ciaran Coll, Gareth Harkin, Michael Funston, Ethan Boyle, Jonny Bonner (Barry Molly 88), Caolan McAleer; Sean Houston; Danny Morrissey (Simon McGlynn 84).
St Patrick’s Athletic: Conor O’Malley; Michael Barker, Gavin Peers, Rory Feely, Ian Birmingham; Conan Byrne, Graham Kelly (JJ Lunney half-time), Darragh Markey, Lee Desmond (Alex O’Hanlon 75), Kurtis Byrne (Josh O’Hanlon half-time); Christy Fagan.
Referee: John McLaughlin (Athlone).Tags: