St. Patrick’s Athletic 6  Finn Harps 1

Finn Harps’ FAI Cup dream turned into a nightmare as they were brushed aside by a rampant St. Patrick’s Athletic in a lively semi-final clash at Richmond Park.

Rank outsiders Harps began fairly well but were 3-1 down at the break and the fourth goal killed the tie.

The Donegal club finished with ten men as Gareth Harkin was sent off late on while Ollie Horgan was ordered away from the dug-out.

But battling Harps never gave up and were cheered off at the end by their 500 fans who had made the trip down to the capital.

The Saints went ahead on 18 minutes when Josh Mailey impeded Chris Forrester on the edge of the box and from the resulting free Killian Brennan rifled the ball into the top corner of the net.

But Harps drew level on 28 minutes with Packie Mailey towering above the St. Pat’s defence to meet a corner and head home, much to the delight of the estimated 500 travelling Finn Harps fans.

St. Pat’s were back in front moments later as Sean Hoare rose to connect with a Killian Brennan corner.

However, St. Pat’s then bagged a third on 41 minutes with Keith Fahey slipping the ball through for Conan Byrne to beat the off-side trap and beat the advancing Conor Winn.

Harps needed to get a second after the break to get back into the game.

But it was Pat's who scored again. Keith Fahey played the ball down to Killian Brennan who skipped past Conor Winn who had advanced well outside his area. Brennan kept possession and despite the angle being tight, despatched the ball confidently into the empty net to leave it 4-1 on 64 minutes.

Any chance of revival was firmly rebuked moments later as the Inchicore side made it 5-1 on 70 minutes as Christy Fagan ran into the box to tuck the ball home.

Conan Byrne outpaced the home defence and got around Winn to slide the ball in from a tight angle and make it 6-1 on 77 minutes.

But things went from bad to worse for Harps as Gareth Harkin was sent off for a lunge on James Chambers.

And as he made his way to the dressing rooms Harps boss Ollie Horgan was ordered away from the dug-out as some verbals were exchanged.

Harps were lucky to end with ten on the field as substitute Sean McCarron was fortunate not to have been sent off for a bad tackle on Sam Verdon late on.

While things ended on a sour note for Harps there could be no complaints about the outcome. Quite simply, the Saints were a cut above Harps.

Disappointment then for Harps, but delight for the league champions who are bidding to win the FAI Cup for the first time since 1961.

Finn Harps:          Conor Winn; Damien McNulty, Packie Mailey, Keith Cowan, Thomas McMonagle, Ciaran Coll; Michael Funston, Josh Mailey, Pat McCann, Gareth Harkin; Kevin McHugh.     Subs: Brian McGrory for Funston and Ger O’Callaghan for Coll (both 65 mins), Sean McCarron for Josh Mailey (80 mins), Caoimhin Bonner, Brian McGrory, Jordan Loftus, Shaun Patton.

St. Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke, Ger O’Brien, Ian Bermingham, Conan Byrne, Keith Fahey, Christy Fagan, Killian Brennan, James Chambers, Kenny Browne, Chris Forrester, Sean Hoare. Subs: Conor McCormack for Fagan, Peter Durrad for Brennan (71 mins), Sam Verdon for Fahey (80 mins), Derek Foran, Ken Oman, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Peter Durrad, Pat Jennings.

Referee: Mr. Derek Tomney (Dublin).

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