Full-Time: Finn Harps 1-2 St Patrick’s Athletic
It was Cup night at Finn Park and after wins over Leinster Senior League sides Kilbarrack Utd and Skerries Town FC in the previous two rounds, this Quarter-Final against Cup favourites St.Patrick’s Athletic was always going to be a much greater challenge for Harps despite having home advantage.
Pats are currently third in the Premier League and beat Derry City on a penalty shootout at the Brandywell in the last round.
However the Cup always throws up its share of surprises and the Finn Park faithful turned out in good numbers hoping for another one tonight.
After plenty of effort from both teams but little goalmouth action in the opening twenty minutes, it was the visitors who threatened first. Harps keeper Rory Kelly produced a double save to deny Jake Mulraney and then Anto Breslin. A minute later Chris Forrester let fly from outside the box, Kelly saved again, but only just.
Harps responded brilliantly and within a couple of minutes were ahead, they broke from defence, Patrick Ferry sent Sean O Donnell clean through and as Pat’s appealed in vain for offside the striker calmly slid the ball past Keeper Dean Lyness to give Harps the lead.
On the half-hour mark, it could have been 2-0, Ryan Flood and Caoimhin Porter combined on the right and the latter’s piledriver forced an excellent save from Lyness.
The Pat’s keeper was in action again with another super save, as defender Joe Redmond‘s backwards header almost crept into the bottom corner, Sean O Donnell’s follow-up shot just flew wide.
The visitors applied a bit of pressure on the Harps defence without success and Harps were always dangerous going forward. It remained 1-0 to Finn Harps at half-time and set us up for an exciting second-half.
And it didn’t take long for Pat’s to get level, two minutes in a cross from the right was heading to the unmarked Jake Mulraney at the far post and in an effort to get a challenge in Seamas Keogh fouled the Pat’s man, Referee Rob Harvey pointed to the penalty spot and Chris Forrester confidently dispatched the ball past Rory Kelly 1–1 and the visitors right back in the game.
The visitors owned the ball for long periods in the second-half but created little in terms of clear-cut chances while Harps introduced B J Banda to see if he could produce another memorable moment at Finn Park.
Harps eased their was back into the game and Ryan Flood and Stephen Doherty flashed shots just over the bar and past the post with keeper Lyness struggling to get to them.
Then in the 84th minute, a winning goal for St.Patrick’s Ath steeped in controversy. Harps looked to have won a throw-in deep inside their own half, however the linesman awarded it to Pats after taking some time to make up his mind.
Anto Breslin quickly took it to Thomas Lonergan and he fought his way into the box and blasted the ball to the far top corner of the net from a very acute angle.
Harps protested in vain, Dave Rodgers was yellow carded, a bottle was thrown at the linesman, the PA announcer warned the game would be abandoned if that or other unruly behaviour was repeated and St.Pats Ath held on to reach the last four.
A good performance by Harps but unfortunately nothing to show for it in disappointing circumstances in the end.
Finn Harps: Rory Kelly, Caoimhin Porter ( Daniel Stokoe 60mins), Matthew Makinson, Stephen Doherty, Seamas Keogh, Tony McNamee, Jamie Watson, Ryan Flood, Max Hutchison ( Mac Johnston 85mins), Patrick Ferry ( B J Banda 60mins), Sean O Donnell.
St. Patrick’s Athletic: Dean Lyness, Anto Breslin, John-Allen McGrath, Joe Redmond; Jamie Lennon ( Alex Nolan 85mins),, Jason McClelland ( Ben Mc Cormack 70mins), Ryan McLaughlin, Adam Murphy ( Mark Doyle 70mins), Conor Carty ( Thomas Lonergan 16mins), Jake Mulraney, Chris Forrester.
Referee ; Robert Harv