St Patrick’s Athletic enjoyed their evening in the Donegal sunshine as they picked up all three points against a Finn Harps side rooted to the bottom of the Premier Division table.
Goals from Conor Clifford and Mikey Drennan – a penalty – were enough for the win.
The visitors took the lead on 35 minutes in front of the 659 in attendance when Harps were guilty of leaving Clifford free on the edge of the penalty area and the St Pat’s midfielder had time to steady himself before arrowing a shot into the bottom corner.
The same player, again from a Rhys McCabe dead ball – although this time a tapped free and not a corner – had struck the butt of the Harps goalpost some eight minutes beforehand from an attempt that was almost carbon copy.
The away team were deserved 1-0 up at the break, although before Clifford’s interventions Harps too had been cursing the woodwork as Caolan McAleer skipped in from the left and curled a decent effort off the top of the St Pat’s crossbar.
Harps are on a wretched run of form and only picked up two points to date this season, one of which was a scoreless draw in Inchicore in the second match of the season. In Ballybofey, Ollie Horgan, the Harps manager, has seen his side be competitive in all their fixtures but only had a 0-0 draw against champions Dundalk to show for their local endeavors.
Drennan, on the hour-mark, drew a full length save from Burke from a long-range free-kick. However, 10 minutes later the two faced off again from a penalty to St Pat’s and Drennan doubled the lead.
Keith Cowan had been penalised for holding Gary Shaw and referee Robert Rogers pointed to the spot then sent off Harps assistant manager Paul Hegarty for his protestations.
Brendan Clarke, in the St Pat’s goal, wasn’t tested afterwards as firstly Tony McNamee and then Kavanagh drove shots over the crossbar.
Finn Harps: Peter Burke; John Kavanagh, Keith Cowan, Sam Todd, Mark Russell; Mark Coyle (Jacob Borg 83); Caolan McAleer, Tony McNamee, Raffaele Cretaro (Michael Gallagher 79), Nathan Boyle (Mikey Place 60); Sean Boyd.
St Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Simon Madden, Kevin Toner, Ciaran Kelly, Ian Bermingham; Conor Clifford, Lee Desmond, Rhys McCabe; Gary Shaw (Dean Clarke 89), Mikey Drennan, Chris Forrester (Cian Coleman 79).
Referee: Rob Rogers