Buckley's Saints let Hoops off hook in Richmond stalemate
St Pat's ath 0 Shamrock Rvs 0
AFTER a feast of goals on their way to Setanta Cup joy over the weekend, Shamrock Rovers were lucky to run into opponents who continue to be haunted by their inability to deliver a result when it really matters.
St Patrick's Athletic deserved more from this feisty Dublin derby, with Liam Buckley's men erasing the memory of their turgid defeat to his former assistant Trevor Croly's side at Tallaght in the second game of the season.
But they failed to make periods of dominance pay, with the only consolation being the fact the Hoops' need for three points was greater. They remain 13 points off the pace and searching for a first away win in the league. Their Inchicore rivals, on the other hand, move within three points of leaders Sligo Rovers.
Drogheda were extremely accommodating on Saturday, and from the opening seconds the Hoops knew they were facing a different proposition here as the refreshed Saints bossed the early stages.
Lone Pat's striker Christy Fagan (below) was giving Derek Foran a torrid time, with his hold-up play and movement causing problems. Meanwhile, Buckley's midfield pressed high which meant that holding Rovers midfielder James Chambers, one of three players to follow Croly to Dublin 24 over the winter, was unable to find rhythm.
While the hosts backed up their pressure by creating chances, the final touch was lacking, with Fagan's finishing failing to match the quality of his approach work.
He created a third-minute opportunity for Chris Forrester, who was denied by a Pat Sullivan block, but the Saints attacker was at the end of two promising moves in the first half; Foran redeemed himself with one block, the natives groaned as their man fired the other over the crossbar.
Croly was frustrated, as his charges struggled to impose with Ronan Finn and Billy Dennehy, who each delivered a brace in the rout of Drogheda, largely anonymous.
A narrowly inaccurate Jason McGuinness header from a Sean O'Connor delivery was their only first-half opening, and the Saints threatened again after the resumption with John Russell nodding inches wide.
Croly worked his bench in search of a break and, territorially, the rest of the game was evenly balanced. The introduction of Ciaran Kilduff with 15 minutes remaining gave the visitors a different dimension, and he blasted wide of an inviting net when a Danny Ledwith thunderbolt was parried into his direction by Brendan Clarke.
But, with Ledwith off injured and all three Hoops subs used, it was the Saints who were on the offensive at the death, with Kenny Browne denied. They left the pitch to a warm ovation but they'd prefer points to plaudits.
St Patrick's Ath – Clarke, O'Brien, Kenna, Browne, Bermingham; Bolger, Brennan; Byrne (Kelly 79), Russell, Forrester; Fagan.
Shamrock Rovers – Murphy, Sullivan (Robinson 51), Foran, McGuinness, Ledwith; Chambers (Kilduff 76), Rice; O'Connor, Finn, Dennehy (McCabe 58); Sheppard.
Ref – G Kelly (Cork) – replaced at half-time by T Connolly (Dublin)