Markey and McCabe help St Pat's come from behind to deliver first win of O'Donnell reign

The Saints came from behind to snatch all three points in Ballbofey on Friday night.

Darragh Markey celebrates with Simon Madden and Rhys McCabe.
Darragh Markey celebrates with Simon Madden and Rhys McCabe.
Image: Lorcan Doherty/INPHO

Finn Harps 1

St Patrick’s Athletic 2

Alan Foley reports from Finn Park

STEPHEN O’DONNELL’S first match in charge of St Patrick’s Athletic ended in a come-from-behind victory in Ballybofey against Finn Harps in Ballybofey.

The former Dundalk captain was handed the managerial reins at Richmond Park in the last week and will have been delighted with the resolution shown by his team tonight with Finn Park always a difficult place to visit for a fixture that was rearranged following last Friday’s postponement due to a waterlogged pitch.

Nathan Boyle, against the run of play, put the home side in front only for the team from Inchicore to snatch a deserved equalizer on 56 minutes through Darragh Markey. The winner came from Rhys McCabe, a half-time substitute, following a defensive error by Gareth Harkin.

Both Harps and St Pat’s might’ve opened the scoring in the first quarter of the match but for deflections. First of all, Mark Timlin was on the end of a long throw-in from Niall Logue and the former Derry City striker’s shot was blocked and made its way wide.

stephen-odonnell-before-the-game New St Pat's manager Stephen O'Donnell. Source: Lorcan Doherty/INPHO

It was from another Logue throw that Harps took the lead on 31 minutes. St Pat’s dithered and failed to clear as Daniel O’Reilly headed the ball downwards in the crowded penalty area and Boyle reacted quickly to redirect past Brendan Clarke from close range.

In between, Gary Shaw had a pop at the Harps goal, only to see it take a touch off Sam Todd, the Harps central defender, and inches wide of the post.

Boyle and Clarke were also the centre of discussion again just five minutes later. A loose pass from Ciaran Kelly meant a race for Boyle. Clarke scampered from his line but was beaten to the ball by the Harps front man, who got a touch on it running at an angle.

The ball eventually rolled off for a throw-in and that was perhaps the reasoning for match referee John McLoughlin for brandishing a yellow and not a red card.

Harps didn’t have much of the ball in that first half, but they had the lead as it came to an end.

glken-mcauley-and-harry-ascroft Glenn McAuley and Harry Ascroft battle for the ball. Source: Lorcan Doherty/INPHO

Whatever O’Donnell said to his troops at the interval seemed to have something of an instant impact with more of a tempo to their play in the third quarter. Shots flew in on goal from the off, with Harps players putting their bodies on the line to preserve their lead.

When Mark Anthony McGinley in the Harps goal made a fine stop to deny Markey, the ball was fizzed back across by Bermingham to make it 1-1.

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Then, on 67 minutes, Harps midfielder Harkin did well to intercept a centre from Glen McAuley in his own penalty area, only to take matters into his own hands by resisting the clearance. McCabe nicked the ball and showing great composure, rolled it into the bottom right corner of McGinley’s net to put the Dublin-based side in front.

Both had late chances. St Patrick’s Athletic’s was when Dave Webster headed over the Harps crossbar from a corner from McCabe while Harps’ Daniel O’Reilly curled a decent effort from 18 yards just wide on 90 minutes.

Finn Harps: Mark Anthony McGinley; Daniel O’Reilly, Keith Cowan, Sam Todd; Jacob Borg (Tony McNamee 84), Mark Coyle, Gareth Harkin (Raff Cretaro 71), Niall Logue; Mark Timlin, Nathan Boyle (Mikey Place 79).

St Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Simon Madden, Dave Webster, Lee Desmond, Ian Bermingham; Glen McAuley (Jake Walker 87), Conor Clifford (Rhys McCabe, half-time), Dean Clarke, Ciaran Kelly; Darragh Markey; Gary Shaw (Chris Forrester 76).

Referee: John McLoughlin.

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About the author:

Alan Foley

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