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Dundalk pounce on Clarke horror show

IF St Pat's had started this match like they finished it, there might have a different outcome at Richmond Park, where Dundalk's first-half dominance and a Brendan Clarke mistake combined to keep Stephen Kenny's rebuilding job on track.

The visitors deservedly went ahead four minutes before half-time. Kurtis Byrne's shot was tipped on to a post by Clarke but the rebound fell to Keith Ward. He was fouled by Ger O'Brien and John Dillon stepped up to score from the penalty spot.

Liam Buckley could have substituted any of his players at half-time. He opted to replace to two Jakes, Carroll and Kelly, with Kilian Brennan and Conan Byrne.

These changes, allied to better quality and more urgency, gave them the platform to mount a comeback and the equaliser came just before the hour.

After Sean Gannon's shot was saved by Peter Cherrie, Gannon was first to the rebound and crossed the ball for Byrne to score from six yards.

A minute later Dundalk regained the lead. When Ger O'Brien's backpass bobbled, Clarke opted to take a touch instead of clearing the ball, but his control was heavy and Byrne pounced to score.

The Lilywhites held on although they had to survive a late penalty claim when Christy Fagan's goal-bound shot was diverted wide by Mark Rossiter. St Pat's were convinced the ex-Saint had used a hand, but referee Alan Kelly gave a corner.

St Patrick's Ath – Clarke, O'Brien, Browne, Kenna, Bermingham, Kelly, Bolger, Gannon (Flood 77), Carroll (C Byrne h-t), Kelly (Brennan h-t), Fagan.

Dundalk – Cherrie, Sullivan, Rossiter, Boyle, Massey, Dillon (Meenan 78), Mountney (Shields 50), Towell, Byrne, Ward (McDonnell 66), Faherty. REF – A Kelly (Cork)

Irish Independent