Mulcahy proves Saints’ saviour as late leveller edges Pat’s to league summit
ST PATRICK’S ATH 1
SPORTING FINGAL 1
DAVE MULCAHY was once again the unlikely hero for St Patrick’s Athletic as he continued his goalscoring run with an equaliser to send the Saints top of the table on goal difference.
The defensive midfielder scored two against Dundalk last Sunday and, although deployed at centrehalf in the absence of Shane Guthrie, Mulcahy popped up two minutes from time to head home Stuart Byrne’s cross and earn a valuable point.
If Pat’s had left empty-handed from this one Pete Mahon would have been devastated as Fingal were without three centre-halves and looked disjointed after their European exit on Thursday.
The first half was a dire affair, Paul Byrne and Derek Doyle going closest for the hosts, but they were both hauled off at the break as Mahon’s dissatisfaction with his team’s efforts resulted in a double substitution, with Daniel North and Brian Cash coming on.
It looked like it had the desired effect as the Saints were on top and playing some good stuff after the break with Ryan Guy firing over and Brendan Clarke denying Cash’s headed effort.
North sent an overhead kick just wide after Dave McAllister headed Mulcahy’s cross in the Englishman’s direction.
The breakthrough came midway through the half against the run of play. Anthony Buttimer penalised, and booked, Damian Lynch for a crunching, ball-winning tackle on Conan Byrne.
The Saints captain was furious as Ger O’Brien’s free found Gary O’Neill; he crossed for Ronan Finn and his shot hit Alan Kirby and was headed goalward. Gary Rogers saved, but Byrne smashed home the rebound. Pat’s responded and Mulcahy headed Cash’s corner off the ground and up off the bar.
O’Brien put his body on the line to deny Lynch, but Mulcahy was pushed forward late on and the move had the desired effect.
ST PATRICK’S ATH – Rogers; Pender, Kenna, Mulcahy, Lynch; Guy, S Byrne, O’Connor, McAllister, Doyle (Cash h-t); P Byrne (North h-t).
SPORTING FINGAL – Clarke; O’Brien, Williams, Gannon, Fitzgerald; Kirby (Dawson 91), Finn, McFaul; Byrne (Cahill 86), Crowe (O’Neill 63), Zayed.
REF – A Buttimer (Cork).