Doyle delivers as Saints see off poor Drogs
THE only surprise to emanate from Richmond Park last night was that giant-killing goal-machine Dave Mulcahy's name was conspicuously absent from the scoresheet.
The Saints midfielder's incredible scoring run of late has stolen all the headlines, while his cameo role at the Aviva Stadium on Wednesday night means he will forever feature in table quizzes up and down the country as the man who scored in the last match at the old Lansdowne Road before notching a goal in the first soccer match at the redeveloped venue.
While the spotlight has been shining on the Kilkenny man after five goals in four games, St Pat's have quietly continued to prove the doubters wrong as they maintain a push for a first League of Ireland title since 1999.
It may have been a mere formality for Pete Mahon's side against a Drogheda United outfit made up mostly of local youngsters, but the result could be of huge significance in the race at the top as they climbed three points clear of Shamrock Rovers.
Pat's will have much bigger tests to deal with in the future than this, however, as they faced a hugely depleted Drogs side that featured no less than seven players who had come from the Louth club's youth system.
The Boynesiders battled gamely but the gulf in class was evident from the start and Pat's were never forced to step up a gear. They could even afford to leave Ryan Guy out of their squad after his appearance in the Manchester United friendly.
When the first chance came along on 22 minutes, it was dispatched brilliantly. Derek Doyle sent a high cross that eluded intended target Daniel North, but Dave McAllister ghosted in from the right wing and hammered an unstoppable drive into Robert Duggan's far post.
Drogheda's patched-up back four had been coping well until that point, but they were looking extremely vulnerable from set-pieces as Pat's made their superior height count.
They had already spurned a few opportunities from Gareth O'Connor's pin-point corners before they doubled their advantage on the half-hour mark from another deadly dead-ball delivery.
Vinny Faherty, having come on for the injured Paul Byrne, flicked on O'Connor's corner with his first touch and Doyle converted with his outstretched left foot to ensure the Inchicore outfit stretched their lead.
ST PATRICK'S ATHLETIC -- Rogers, Pender, Guthrie, Kenna, Lynch (Bermingham 46); McAllister, O'Brien (Mulcahy 72), O'Connor, Doyle; North, Byrne (Faherty 29).
DROGHEDA UNITED -- Duggan, Hoey, Murphy, Daly, Osbourne (Kierans 72); McMahon (Meenan 89), Brennan, Ross, McEnteggart; Flood, Fitzpatrick (Woods 72).
REF -- D Tomney (Dublin).