Preview: St Patrick’s Athletic v Finn Harps

By Gerard Mulreaney (@gerardmulreaney)

St Patrick’s Athletic Manager Harry Kenny is called on the Saints supporters to come again in huge numbers tonight as his side look to continue their fantastic winning start to the season.

St Pats have already beaten Cork City and Sligo Rovers, both games finishing 1-0, and they face Finn Harps in Richmond Park tonight.

Kenny said, “The support in Richmond for our opening game was immense and we are hoping that the supporters can come out again on Monday night and get behind the team as they really push the players on.”

“The closing stages against both Cork and Sligo saw them get behind us and the players really buzz off that and it drives them on. Hopefully we can produce for them again on Monday and hopefully pick up the three points.”

Finn Harps go the Richmond Park on the back of an excellent performance on Friday, holding champions Dundalk to a 1-1 draw in Ballybofey, and were probably a little unfortunate not to win the game. Harps boss Ollie Horgan knows it’s a tough task tonight, “We just have a point from two matches. We haven’t done badly performance-wise but we need to get some more points on the board early to give the lads a bit of confidence.

“Pat’s have made a good start with two wins against Cork and Sligo. Harry Kenny will want to keep that momentum going tomorrow night at Richmond Park so we’re in for a hell of battle to get something from the game.”

One thing about this St Pats side under Kenny is their willingness to win ugly, to fight and grind out results, something that was perhaps missing under Liam Buckley. And Kenny spoke about that character, “Last Friday was a huge three points for us. It really showed that the lads have great character to keep pushing for a winner, and luckily we got our reward at the very end with a great headed goal from Mikey [Drennan].”

“We will need that kind of desire and determination for the whole season if we want to continue to pick up results. Looking to Monday, it is a quick turnaround to face Harps who have shown well in their two games to date in the league. I think they were unlucky in their opener against Bohemians and then last Friday they picked up a great point against the league champions.”

“Ollie Horgan always has his team well organised and we know that they will come to Inchicore really fired up and focused on getting a result. From our end, we just want to keep things going and add to our points tally,” continued Kenny.

Pat’s will have striker Gary Shaw back as he’s recovered from a hamstring strain, although Dean Clarke misses out with a leg injury.

For Finn Harps it’s difficult for a part-time team with a small squad to put in high quality back-to-back performances in such s short space of time and Horgan understands that, “While it was great to get the draw against Dundalk it was hard earned and we’ll only see when the final whistle blows tomorrow night whether the physical toll from the quick turnaround in games was too much or not.”

“Pat’s are up there at the top with Shamrock Rovers and Bohemians. It might be early days but a maximum six points on the board is a very nice start to the season. We’re five behind that so we’re going to Richmond Park to get a result against a side that hasn’t conceded a goal in the games against Cork and Sligo.”

Harps will be without Harry Ascroft and Mark Timlin through injury while Mark Coyle is a doubt after struggling in the closing stages against Dundalk.

Horgan continued, “Getting a bit more going forward will be needed and hopefully some of our attacking players can find the back of the net tomorrow night.”

“Harry Kenny has plenty of experience at the back with the likes of Simon Madden and Ian Bermingham. Then you have excellent players like Conor Clifford, Rhys McCabe and Chris Forrester who can really do damage in the final third of the pitch. And then you have a striker of Mikey Drennan’s calibre who has scored the winner in the last two games for them.”

Prediction: The fact St Pats are at home in front of their own fans, and with confidence very high, allied to the fact in two games in three days, including a long day’s travel, I fully expect Pats to take all three points. I’ll go for a 2-0 win.

Picture Credit: St Patrick’s Athletic FC

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