Original article appears on Pundit Arena.
St. Patrick’s Athletic came away from Tolka Park with a deserved victory but were made to work for it by a resilient Shelbourne side. The deadlock wasn’t broken until deep in the second half but both sides had chances early in the game to take the lead.
Ciaran Kilduff should have put his side into the lead 30 minutes in after teammate Conan Byrne worked his way in to the Shelbourne box. His lob met Kilduff’s head but went inches over the bar. Kilduff also had a good chance to put his side ahead on the stroke of half time after connecting with James McGrath’s cross. Again, his effort sailed over the crossbar.
Shels also had a number of attempts at goal in the first half. The best chance was left to Conor Earley. The midfielder was put clean through on the 10th minute but his effort was tipped away by Brendan Clarke.
St. Pat’s nearly got off to a flyer after the restart. Greg Bolger nearly put his side into lead. His effort just went over the crossbar but it should have resulted with the opening goal of the game.
Pat’s continued to press up the field and had numerous chances to go in front but could not connect with the finish on any of the attempts at goal.
Things started to boil over late into the game with scuffles breaking out between both sides. The first incident saw Pat’s substitute Christy Fagan and Shels’ defender Alan Kehoe each receive a yellow card for clashing after a tussle for possession. The second incident involved some pushing and shoving between Craig Walsh and James Chambers but quickly broke up and wasn’t noticed by the referee.
It was Fagan who finally broke the deadlock on the 76th minute. Ian Bermingham sent a cross into the box, which landed to the Saints number nine. His shot deflected off a Shelbourne defender and all goalkeeper, David Ryan could do was look on as the ball landed in the bottom right of the goal.
It took the Inchicore side only three minutes to double their lead. Byrne crossed from the right flank in towards Kilduff, who lifted the ball past Ryan into the top of the net. That was the game sealed and both sides took their feet off the accelerator for the last 10 minutes as the game drifted towards full time.
Liam Buckley will undoubtedly be the happier of the two managers. His side has now scored 16 goals in four games and have yet to concede a goal. They will look ahead to their next fixture, The President’s Cup, on Saturday week against Dundalk in Oriel Park.
Kevin Doherty is still tinkering with his team ahead of the new season. His side have lost three and drawn one in their games so far, scoring four and conceding nine. However, he will look to Sunday’s Leinster Senior Cup fixture against Newtown Untied to kick start his side’s season and come away with their first win of 2015.
SHELBOURNE: Ryan, Dixon, Kehoe (Gannon 87′), Heaney (O’Connor 45′), Andrews, Crowe (Walsh 51′), O’Sullivan (Rodriguez 64′), Donnelly (Robinson 71′), Sandford (Hughes 69′), Coughlan (C) (Osam 61′), Earley (Keegan 61′)
Yellow Cards: Kehoe (71′)
ST. PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: Clarke, McGuinness, Bermingham (C), Bolger, Byrne, Kilduff (Markey 80′), Chambers, Browne (Brennan 45′), Forrester, McGrath (Fagan 64′), McCormack (Verdon 64′)
Substitutes: Desmond, Jennings
Goals: Fagan (76′), Kilduff (79′)
Yellow Cards: Fagan (71′)
Referee: Dave McKeon