Conan Byrne fires hat-trick as St Pat's crush dire Drogheda
St Patrick's Athletic 6 Drogheda United 0 - Airtricity League Premier Division
After St Pat's put five goals past Derry City last Friday night, struggling Drogheda United must have feared the worst heading to Richmond Park last night.
Manager Robbie Horgan would certainly have hoped that his side could have held the champions scoreless for a bit longer than five minutes but, with Conan Byrne in sensational form, the writing was on the wall that early for a Drogheda side who have now conceded 40 goals this season and have lost nine of their last 10 league games.
In truth, Pat's didn't have to work all that hard for their six goals as they easily sliced through Drogheda's midfield. Horgan opted to play Gavin Brennan at left-back and he was given a torrid time by Byrne who was outstanding throughout.
Chris Forrester got Pat's up and running after five minutes as they picked up where they left off against Derry.
Ian Bermingham made a surging run down the left flank before picking out Forrester who was given far too much time on the edge of the penalty area and he crashed his shot beyond the despairing reach of Dave Ryan.
Ten minutes later, Pat's were 2-0 to the good thanks to the league's top scorer – Christy Fagan. The in-form striker flicked home his 13th league goal following another Bermingham assist.
Byrne sent in a teasing cross that somehow evaded the on-rushing Killian Brennan, but Bermingham had the awareness to fire the ball back across goal for Fagan who easily scored.
Brennan almost made it three but Ryan brilliantly kept out his low shot. But that soon changed when Byrne scored his second of the game.
Byrne breezed passed Gavin Brennan once again and his cross was missed by Fagan but the ball still somehow found its way into the back of the net for a 3-0 half-time lead.
Liam Buckley was forced into a change at the break as goalkeeper Brendan Clarke failed to shake off a knock following a clash with Gary O'Neill. Pat's continued to dominate proceedings, however, and when Fagan and Forrester linked up on the edge of the box three minutes after the restart, the latter showed great composure to beat Ryan.
Mark Quigley made an immediate impact from the bench when his through ball split the Drogheda defence and Byrne was on hand to complete his hat-trick with his ninth goal of the campaign.
It took the visitors 71 minutes to muster their first shot on target and when it came, Sean O'Connor's tame effort typified Drogheda's lacklustre performance.
Killian Brennan was forced off injured and with Pat's having made all three of their substitutions, they played out the final 10 minutes with 10 men.
The numerical disadvantage made no difference to Pat's as they made it 6-0 when another lung-bursting run by Bermingham was finished by Byrne.
St Patrick's Athletic: Clarke (Gilmartin h-t); McCormack, Browne, Hoare, Bermingham (capt); Byrne, Fahey, Chambers, K Brennan; Forrester (Kavanagh 71); Fagan (Quigley 62).
Drogheda United: Ryan; Holohan, Doyle, Andrews, G Brennan (capt); Walshe, Daly, O'Connor, Brady (Foley 56), Crowley; O'Neill (Hughes 56).
Referee: D McKeon (Dublin).