O'Hanlon's winner gives relieved Pat's a massive lift
St Patrick's Athletic 2 Shamrock Rovers 1
Told by manager Liam Buckley when he was about to be sprung from the bench that this would be a good time to score his first goal for the team, Josh O'Hanlon duly obliged with a winner to lift the Saints off the foot of the table.
Rovers started well, and were deserving of a 13th-minute lead courtesy of Gary Shaw.
But the dynamic of the game changed on 34 minutes when Hoops left-back Sean Heaney was sent off for a second yellow.
St Pat's took control and their pressure told on 59 minutes when substitute Kurtis Byrne hooked home JJ Lunney's diagonal pass to equalise.
O'Hanlon then won it for St Pat's on 76 minutes, heading in a Conan Byrne corner with his first touch of the ball to give Saints their first victory of the campaign.
"I think it was always going to come," said 21-year-old O'Hanlon. "No one could quite put their finger on (the poor start). We come in and train hard every day."
A relieved Buckley said: "They're all working extremely hard and it's just that we haven't been gelling."
St Pat's are now just two points behind Rovers who slumped to a fourth defeat in six games.
"The sending-off just killed it for us," said despondent Hoops boss Stephen Bradley, who was frustrated by unsuccessful attempts to have the game called off because Trevor Clarke and Michael O'Connor were on duty with the Irish U-19 side.
Bradley has threatened to pull players out of future squads - there is no provision in the rules for call-ups below U-21 level.
St Patrick's Athletic - O'Malley; Barker, Peers, Desmond, Bermingham; Kelly (K Byrne, 56), Cregg, Lunney (Markey, 71); C Byrne, Fagan (J O'Hanlon, 75), A O'Hanlon.
Shamrock Rovers - Chencinski; Madden, Webster, Devine, Heaney; Lopes; Meenan (Bone, h-t), Finn, Burke, Doona (McAllister, 38); Shaw (Boyd, 67). Ref - P McLaughlin (Donegal).