Bolger downs Shels to keep Saints on leaders' trail
ST PATRICK'S ATHLETIC 1 SHELBOURNE 0
Greg Bolger's ninth-minute header proved decisive as St Patrick's Athletic secured a hard-fought victory in a scrappy game at Richmond Park to maintain their pursuit of leaders Sligo Rovers.
Interest was high for the hosts' third Dublin derby in a week -- president Michael D Higgins was in attendance on a night when club legend Ricky O'Flaherty was inducted in the St Pat's hall of fame.
Indeed, they didn't have too long to wait for the first goal, as Bolger beat Shels netminder Dean Delany with a looping header from a pin-point cross by Darren Meenan.
Pat's almost doubled their lead five minutes later when Christy Fagan forced Delany into a fine save after an excellent combination with Bolger.
Meenan and Fagan went close, and Pat's thought they had a second just past the half-hour mark when Delany knocked a Christopher Forrester centre into his own net, but the goal was ruled out as the ball had gone out of play before the pacy winger's cross.
Saints continued to take the game to Shels in the second half, despite losing the influential Forrester to injury, as Fagan's goal-bound effort was deflected away by a last-gasp block from centre-half Stephen Paisley.
Shels, though, were desperately unlucky not to equalise on 68 minutes, when Philly Hughes saw his powerful header from a David Cassidy cross come crashing off the bar.
However, the visitors' hopes were effectively ended when Barry Clancy was given a straight red card for a late tackle on Ger O'Brien with six minutes remaining.
ST PATRICK'S ATHLETIC -- Clarke; O'Brien, Kenna, Browne, Bermingham; Bolger, Chambers, Meenan; Forrester (Carroll 46), Fagan, Kelly.
SHELBOURNE -- Delany; Ryan (Matthews 23), Paisley, Shortall, Clancy; C Byrne (Gorman 81), Dawson, Cassidy, Kavanagh; Hughes, P Byrne (S Byrne 46).
REF -- A Buttimer (Cork).