Finn Harps manager Ollie Horgan praised the effort and guile of his players following their Monday night victory over St. Patrick’s Athletic earlier this week, but reiterated that their first victory of the season would have to be built upon if they are to keep the threat of relegation at bay this season.
His side turned a one goal deficit into their first win of the 2017 campaign thanks to first-half goals from Sean Houston and striker Ciaran O’Connor.
They had gifted St. Pats an early lead when less than four minutes into the game defender Jonny Bonner conceded possession to allow Graham Kelly a one vs one opportunity with Harps goalkeeper Ciaran Gallagher, which the midfielder duly took.
A first-half rally ensued from the Ballybofey club with Houston firstly levelling proceedings before a miscalculated Michael Barker backpass gave O’Connor the easiest of tap-ins for what proved a decisive winner in Richmond Park.
“It wasn't about quality, it was about hard work,” said the Finn Harps manager Horgan on the victory.
“We got away with it, there was a period in the second half where we couldn't get out of our own half. But we held on and got away with it.
"We gave them a golden start. To be fair to St. Pats, they were the better side and played the better football. But we dug in.
"I thought in the first half we were decent. I thought we pressed them high and did quite well, in the second half we ran out of links.
His side now possess four points from a possible twelve after last Friday’s 5-3 defeat away to the high-scoring Bray Wanderers.
The Harps manager admitted the fixture schedule had not worked in his side’s favour, but that despite his side being part-time, they still gave Harry Kenny’s side a performance at the Carlisle Grounds.
“It's only an excuse that we play part-time. In Bray it was kind of a crazy game. Maybe the bit of luck we had tonight we didn't have in Bray.
“That's not taking anything away from Bray, they are a proper side. But maybe a few decisions didn't go our way in Bray and maybe that bit of luck went our way tonight.
"You don't win in Inchicore without a hell of a lot of luck. We got tanked here a couple of years ago in an FAI Cup semi-final and we got tanked here last year in the league. I'm sure St. Pats are scratching their heads wondering how they didn't get anything out of it.”
Despite a first win which puts the Donegal club above St. Pats, Galway United, Limerick and bottom-placed Sligo Rovers, Horgan maintained that his side still had a long journey ahead if they are to finish above the relegation-zone which will see three sides brought down to the First Division for 2018.
“It's only one game, we've another 29 to go”, he said. “With four points it's great, but what will it take to survive? — a hell of a lot more.
“We're going to have bad days, we know that. So (it's important) to let the lads enjoy the few good days we have. Our players don't get a lot of luck so they deserve some credit tonight.”
A point above tomorrow’s opponents in the Premier Division table but with a game in hand, his side take a trip to the Market’s Field where they will face Limerick at lunchtime.
Aaron is a Dublin-based freelance writer currently studying journalism at Dublin City University. You can follow more of his work on Twitter @AaronGallagher8
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