Madden rescues Saints a point
St Pat's 1-1 Cork City
Controversy filled the Inchicore air as Cork City were left ruing a late concession against St Patrick's Athletic at Inchicore.
Leading by Karl Sheppard's 54th-minute opener, City thought the whistle was imminent when referee Ben Connolly played the allotted three minutes of added time. However, up stepped Simon Madden to rocket a low drive through a thicket of defenders with the last kick of the match in the 95th minute.
City, with Conor McCarthy sporting a bandage wrapped around his head, lost Shane Griffin to injury after only 12 minutes.
Gary Shaw soon joined him in the wars, eventually travelling the same route down the tunnel with concussion following a sturdy challenge by Sean McLoughlin which earned the Preston North End target a booking.
Even Daire O'Connor, Griffin's substitute, had to temporarily leave the pitch with blood flowing from his mouth. As a boxing spectacle, the opening exchanges were gold.
The football, however, was less entertaining, typified by Chris Forrester whose withdrawal 20 minutes from full-time, just when the Saints were in dire need of creativity to mount a comeback, shows how his importance to Harry Kenny's armoury has plummeted.
How they could have done with some verve in the final third. Forrester wasn't the only one culpable of stagnation, the summation of their chances falling to defender Kevin Toner from set-pieces.
His first one came in first-half stoppage time, their best opportunity to that point, when the centre-back arrived on cue to connect with Mikey Drennan's corner. The cross was in the air long enough for Mark McNulty to spot Toner's dart to the back post, allowing him time to read the header and keep it out.
The former Aston Villa man once again rose highest in the box just after they'd conceded but his glancing effort didn't trouble to Cork stopper.
Sheppard had nipped in to stab Garry Buckley's low centre home to put Cork ahead and they should have extended their margin before the late concession.
Brendan Clarke turned Kevin O'Connor's angled drive around the post and the other O'Connor, Daire, was unable to keep his header down from Sheppard's crowd with the goal at his mercy. It would come back to haunt them.
ST PAT'S - B Clarke; D Webster, C Kelly, K Toner; S Madden, C Coleman, C Forrester (J Lennon 70), D Markey (J Doona 77), I Bermingham; G Shaw (J Walker 36), M Drennan.
CORK CITY - M McNulty; C Horgan, C McCarthy, S McLoughlin, K O'Connor; C McCormack, G Morrissey; J Tilley (C Bargary 90), G Buckley, S Griffin (D O'Connor 12); K Sheppard.
REF - B Connolly (Dublin)