LAST season was a bleak one for supporters of the Dublin clubs, as all four major trophies – five if you count the Setanta Cup – ended up outside the capital.
It remains to be seen if a Dublin side can win something this season, but on the early evidence it seems as if Shamrock Rovers will at least be top dogs in the capital, certainly on the evidence of last night's convincing 3-0 win over St Patrick's Athletic.
Defensive frailties in the Saints side were exposed time and again, and with more nights like this one, the 2013 season could be a struggle for Liam Buckley's men as goals from Ciaran Kilduff, Gary McCabe and Ronan Finn tore Pat's apart.
As for Trevor Croly's side, the new term sees them brimful of confidence and Hoops fans will relish the next two games in their run of three Dublin derbies in a row – Bohemians and Shelbourne the opposition next week.
"Bring on the Bohs" was the chant from the Tallaght fans at the final whistle as they eye up Monday's afternoon trip to Dalymount Park.
Pat's dominated this fixture last season, when Croly was in place as the Saints' assistant manager, as Rovers managed just one point from three league games against the Inchicore club. But already it seems the balance of power has swung.
Rovers had the better of the first half as the Hoops players seemed determined that boss Croly's first home league game would end with a three-point haul. Kilduff and Gary McCabe created some danger for the Saints defence early on, but it took Rovers until only the 20th minute to get their first goal of the night, as Kilduff was left unmarked to head home a cross by Ronan Finn which should have been cut out.
A tough Rovers defence, marshalled by Jason McGuinness and Derek Foran, managed to snuff out most of the Pat's' attacks, though the Hoops did need a good save from Barry Murphy on 34 minutes to deny Christopher Forrester.
But just seconds into the second half it was all over as Rovers went 2-0 up, Gary McCabe claiming his first of the season with a well-struck shot which beat Brendan Clarke, though the Saints goalkeeper should at least have made some contact with the effort.
Buckley threw on striker Conor Murphy for Forrester as an instant reaction, and soon after that came the introduction of other subs Greg Bolger and Jake Carroll, but it was all in vain as a strong Rovers side simply had a vice-like grip on the game by that stage.
There was some late hope for Pat's as Conor Kenna forced a good save from Barry Murphy on 80 minutes.
But, when another goal did come, it came from the home side as Rovers exploited some slack defending to make it 3-0.
Conor Powell sent a hopeful ball out of defence and as Pat's wondered what to do with it, McCabe took possession and charged at Clarke's goal, the winger then unselfishly crossing for Finn to slot the ball home.