- Saturday June 19th, 2021 @ 16:03
Preview: Saints Vs Finn Harps (21/06/21)
St Patrick's Athletic face Finn Harps on Monday evening at Richmond Park in what is their second game in four days.
There was a party atmosphere in Inchicore on Friday night as 200 Saints' fans returned for the first time in 470 days and they enjoyed a 2-0 victory over Sligo Rovers.
Ronan Coughlan's second-half penalty against his former side doubled their lead after Matty Smith had put St Pat's ahead early on as The Saints picked up a deserved three points.
That win moved them above Sligo in the table and up to second where they sit three points behind leaders Shamrock Rovers heading into Monday's games.
Opposition Watch and Previous Meetings
Ollie Horgan's Finn Harps were also in action on Friday night when they lost 2-1 at the Finn Park after a Will Patching brace claimed all three points for Derry. Ethan Boyle had equalised for the home side in Ballybofey.
They come into the game in 7th place on 19 points after 16 games.
The teams met back in April when goals from Billy King and Matty Smith secured all three points in Donegal.
Smith will be looking to make it three goals in three games on Monday evening to continue an impressive string of performances from the Scottish native.
View From The Dugout
The Saints come into game having won both of their matches since the mid-season break.
Speaking about their impressive return to action, Head Coach Stephen O'Donnell feels that the break probably came at the right time for them:
"We are delighted. The break probably came at the right time for us. We are re-energised, refocused and since we have come back. The intensity, quality and application in training has been very good also.
We are delighted to take maximum points in the first two games but no time to dwell on it. We have Finn Harps on Monday and it's going to be a tough game. It's a quick turn around and as I said no time to dwell on the win against Sligo. As you saw, Finn Harps' last away game they drew with Shamrock Rovers and fully deserved the draw, so we are under no illusions as to how tough it is going to be."
Fans Are Back
Alfie Lewis' first game in front of the home fans could not have gone much better!
He was phenomenal in the middle of the park, playing with relentless energy and played a key part in the first goal, quickly closing and dispossessing Jordan Gibson on the edge of the box.
Speaking on LOITV, Lewis was delighted with the result and impressed by the noise of the 200 fans:
"It was a good game. We knew we had to be on it today. Sligo are in good form and I think we came out on top, we pressed, we've been working hard on it in training and it showed today . In the second half, we dealt with the pressure well and in the first half we dominated the game and looked a threat on the counter as well.
The atmosphere was great, even for only 200 here. I can't imagine if there was a few thousand. It was great to have them here with us cheering us on. It makes a huge difference, especially late on in the game."
Another player making his debut in front of the fans was Matty Smith, and he was also outstanding, picking up his second goal in consecutive games and also winning the penalty for the second.
Smith was equally as impressed about the noise of the Richmond crowd:
"It was brilliant. There's no better feeling that winning at home and getting a goal and even to get the penalty as well. I think the boys were excellent. They really fought for each other until the final whistle so I could not fault anybody.
We are delighted to do it in front of the fans. It was a brilliant atmosphere for the amount of them that came, and the boys were excellent too."
Team-news: Shane Griffin (shoulder) is the only absentee
Match Programme: Download your free copy of The Saint from our website
Where Can You Watch The Game: The game will be live on LOITV from 7.15pm, kick-off is at 7.45. Jamie Moore and Ger O'Brien will be joined by Conan Byrne,
Updates: Alternatively, you can also catch updates across all of our social media channels including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.
Photo credit: Inpho Sports