Sport League of Ireland

Saturday 25 November 2017

Dennehy ends Rovers' run to underline Pat's title credentials

Shamrock Rovers 0 St Patrick's Athletic 2

Liam Buckley, St Patrick's Athletic manager celebrates with his players at the end of the game Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Liam Buckley, St Patrick's Athletic manager celebrates with his players at the end of the game Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Billy Dennehy, St Patrick's Athletic, scores his side's first goal Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Foggy conditions during the game Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Aidan Fitzmaurice

Aidan Fitzmaurice

After two wins from two derby games in the space of five days, St Patrick's Athletic will feel entitled, for the moment, to claim the title of top dogs in Dublin.

And on the basis of last night's 2-0 win away to Shamrock Rovers, thanks to a headed goal either side of the break, Liam Buckley's outfit can feel entitled to be considered as contenders for national honours as well as local ones this season.

The first side to beat, and score against, Rovers this season, Pat's kept their heads after a slow enough start to the game and showed steely resolve to stay in front once Billy Dennehy put them ahead shortly before half-time.

Rovers, who had a 100pc record before last night, were second best and while they will complain about a decision by referee Tomas Connolly on 55 minutes - he had awarded a penalty to the Hoops but changed his mind and gave a goal kick in response to Ian Bermingham's challenge on Simon Madden - they can have few quibbles.

Confidence in the Hoops camp ahead of their first derby of the season was high, the first time in the club's history that they had begun the season with three successive wins and clean sheets.

Rovers had enough of the ball in the first half, though perhaps not enough chances, to go in front.

Rampaging

Simon Madden, probably Rovers' most reliable player over recent seasons, was a constant threat with the rampaging runs down the wing which caused one of his previous managers to compare him to Dani Alves.

Madden carved out his side's first opening on 11 minutes but no one was on hand to make the cross count, though Danny North got on the end of a Madden ball on 33 minutes, that effort going out for a corner.

Gary Shaw forced the first save of the game, from Brendan Clarke, on 11 minutes, and a clever Shaw flick on 38 minutes set up Danny North, the best move of the game so far.

Pat's had been quiet for most of the first half, Buckley's side happy to absorb the pressure, though a Billy Dennehy cross to Christy Fagan on 43 minutes was a sign of their growing confidence. It was Dennehy then who scored against his former club to give Pat's the lead second before half-time,

Another player who is technically an ex-Hoop - Christy Fagan played one game, on trial, for Rovers before he joined Bohemians - doubled the lead on 51 minutes, that previously reliable Rovers defence absent as Fagan rose to head home Mark Timlin's cross.

Four minutes later, Rovers thought they had a way back into the game when that clash between Madden and Bermingham led to the awarding of a penalty, but the referee listened to his assistant's advice and bravely gave the decision the other way.

Rovers threatened little after that, subs Dean and Trevor Clarke trying to spark life into the attack but Clarke claimed a second clean sheet in a week.

Shamrock Rovers - Murphy; Madden, Brennan, Blanchard, O'Connor; McCabe, Cregg, Miele; Drennan (Clarke 78), North (Clarke 72), Shaw
St Patrick's Athletic - Clarke; McEleney, Dennehy, Bermingham (Hoare 90), O'Brien; Kelly, Dennehy, Cawley, Timlin (Byrne 75), Treacy (Verdon 77), Fagan
Referee - T Connolly (Dublin)

Irish Independent

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