St Patrick’s Athletic 1-0 Dundalk
Garreth O’Connor’s 74th-minute strike saw Dundalk’s dismal record against Dublin clubs this year continue as Saint Patrick’s Athletic recorded a deserved 1-0 victory at Richmond Park on Sunday evening. O’Connor fired a cracking 25-yard shot to Peter Cherrie’s top left-hand corner to condemn the Lilywhites to a ninth straight defeat by a side from the capital this term, while it was also their ninth loss on the trot to St. Pat’s.
It could have been a very different story had Alex Williams found the net for the visitors inside the opening 30 seconds when the Scottish striker raced on to a Chris Turner pass, only to see his shot blocked by the Saints’ last line of defence, Gary Rogers. Rogers was not seriously tested again, however, as the home side dominated for long periods. However, they had to wait until 16 minutes from time to break the deadlock, though it a goal worth waiting for as Bobby Ryan’s ball fell to O’Connor who smashed a powerful drive beyond the helpless Cherrie.
Dundalk started with two changes to the side that defeated Drogheda United nine days earlier as the suspended duo of Shaun Kelly and Michael Daly, who were both missing just their third game of the season, were replaced by Simon Kelly and Tiarnán Mulvenna. And it didn’t appear as though the double swap unsettled the side as they broke through the St. Pat’s rearguard almost straight from the kick-off. Turner was provider with a perfect pass but Williams, who was looking for his fifth goal in five appearances since signing last month, was unable to find away past Rogers, who blocked the effort with his leg.
Despite the teams producing 24 shots on goal between them, there was little threat to either ‘keeper throughout the game, with wayward finishing on both sides. Just shy of the half-hour mark, Glen Fitzpatrick found himself free inside the area. However, from 15-yards, the striker fired well over the crossbar. The hosts created another opening on the stroke of half-time but Gary Dempsey shot wide when well placed. After the break, chances were again few and far between, and when they did come, it was St. Pat’s who threatened. Cherrie was not worried by most attacks, however, Jeff Kenna’s men got what their efforts deserved when O’Connor fired home. It could have been worse for Dundalk before the end when Fitzpatrick miscued in front of goal, although it mattered little as the Oriel Park outfit suffered their first away defeat since losing at Tallaght Stadium on 2 June.
SAINT PATRICK’S ATHLETIC FC (4-4-2): Gary Rogers; Jason Gavin, Jamie Harris, David Partridge, Enda Stevens; Garreth O’Connor, Damian Lynch (Alan Cawley 68), Gary Dempsey (Stuart Byrne 66), Bobby Ryan; Glen Fitzpatrick (Mark Leech 88), Ryan Guy.
Goal: G O’Connor (74).
Unused Subs: Brendan Clarke (GK), Darragh Ryan.
DUNDALK FC (4-4-2): Peter Cherrie; Michael McGowan, Liam Burns, Thomas Heary, Simon Kelly; Tiarnán Mulvenna, Chris Turner, Mickey Collins, Kevin McKinlay (Darren Mansaram 58); Ger Rowe, Alex Williams.
Booked: M McGowan (49), T Mulvenna (55).
Unused Subs: Chris Bennion (GK), Michael Coburn, Paul McAreavey, David Ward.
Referee: Anthony Buttimer (Cork).