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Eight goals, three disallowed and three penalties - Shelbourne and St Pat's play out thrilling draw at Tolka Park

Shelbourne 4 St Patrick's Athletic 4

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Eoin Doyle celebrates his equaliser against Shelbourne. Photo by Ben McShane/Sportsfile

Eoin Doyle celebrates his equaliser against Shelbourne. Photo by Ben McShane/Sportsfile

Eoin Doyle celebrates his equaliser against Shelbourne. Photo by Ben McShane/Sportsfile

Ten-man St Patrick’s Athletic came back from two goals down to earn a point against Shelbourne and keep their European ambitions alive in an extraordinary Dublin derby.

Sean Boyd and Matty Smith twice put Shels ahead in the first half, but St Pat’s cancelled out both strikes through Barry Cotter and a Boyd own goal.

The Reds earned a two-goal lead after the restart through Boyd and JJ Lunney, but two Eoin Doyle penalties rescued a point for the Saints, who cut the gap on third-placed Dundalk to four points, as the sides meet on Friday.

It’s now eight league games without win for Shelbourne, who secured their Premier Division status in Friday’s draw at Finn Harps.

The Dublin derby was originally meant to be played on August 7 but was cancelled less than 48 hours before after the Saints informed the FAI they were unable to source a charter home from Bulgaria after a Conference League qualifier.

Shels were incensed by the situation and had hoped to be awarded the three points. The case went to the FAI’s disciplinary committee, who decided to reschedule the fixture and promised to review fixture policies for club’s involved in UEFA competitions ahead of next season.

And so, eight weeks later, the sides finally met in Drumcondra. Duff made three changes from the side that drew 1-1 at Finn Harps on Friday, which ensured Shels will play back-to-back seasons in the top-flight for the first time in 16 years. JJ Lunney, Shane Farrell and Sean Boyd replaced Aodh Dervin, Josh Giurgi and Gavin Hodgins.

St Pat’s boss Tim Clancy also made three changes from Friday’s 1-0 home defeat to Derry City, as Jason McClelland, Mark Doyle and Billy King replaced Serge Atakayi, and suspended duo Chris Forrester and Tom Grivosti.

The hosts' start was fast and furious, and they enjoyed the majority of the ball in the opening stages. It wasn’t long before they took the lead, as a long ball forward by Shane Griffin found Shane Farrell, who knocked it down into Boyd’s path. Harry Brockbank comically missed the clearance, allowing Boyd to tuck it into the bottom corner for his twelfth of the season.

The Saints hit back eight minutes later through Cotter, who ran onto Joe Redmond’s long pass, cut inside, and spun past Ledwidge with ease to fire into the bottom corner to net his third goal of 2022.

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Shels regained the lead on the half-hour mark, as Smith broke through on the edge of the box and fired past new signing Danny Rogers, his first goal for the Reds against his former club.

The visitors had the ball in the net for a second time, as Mark Doyle’s header beat Brendan Clarke. The away end celebrations were short lived though, as the referee gave a free out for a foul on Shels captain Luke Byrne in the build-up.

The Inchicore side levelled again just before the break however, as Boyd turned the ball into his own net following a superb save by Clarke from a St Pat’s corner.

Farrell’s whipped free-kick failed to trouble Rogers after the restart, before Brockbank made another error and took Boyd down inside the box on 52 minutes. The Shels striker made no mistake from the spot, slotting it down the middle to put the Reds back in front.

St Pat’s had another goal chalked off moments later as Eoin Doyle was played through and found the bottom corner, but the offside flag denied the visitors a leveller.

Smith looked to have earned himself a brace, as he turned in Farrell’s expert cross, but a third goal was disallowed, this time for a handball in the build-up.

Shelbourne’s fourth came through a magical back heel by Farrell to find Smith. The former St Pat’s winger crossed and found Lunney, who curled in his second strike of the season.

Two Eoin Doyle penalties in ten minutes got St Pat’s back into the contest, as the former Bolton striker made it twelve league goals this season. Clancy and Shels coach Alan Quinn were both sent to the stands for a tense exchange of words, in the heated derby.

Cotter’s free kick smacked the post with five minutes left, before Lennon picked up a second booking. Smith missed a golden chance to win it at the death, but skewed his effort, as the points were shared in a remarkable derby.

Shelbourne – Clarke; Griffin, Byrne, Negru; Wilson, Lunney (Coyle 89), Molloy, Farrell, Ledwidge; Boyd (Carr 90), Smith.

St Patrick’s Athletic – Rogers; Curtis, Redmond, Brockbank; McClelland (Atakayi 54), O’Reilly (Owolabi 70), Lennon, Cotter; King, E Doyle, M Doyle.

Ref – N Doyle.


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