Rovers go clear at top of table after early Aaron McEneff spot kick sees off Pats
St Patrick's Athletic 0 Shamrock Rovers 1
It took a man from Derry to settle this very Dublin affair, an early penalty from Aaron McEneff was the difference between the sides as Shamrock Rovers got the win they needed to go clear at the top of the Premier Division table.
The Hoops’ record away to St Patrick’s Athletic had been poor in recent seasons but this win could prove to be vital if Stephen Bradley’s side are to sustain a title challenge this season.
The bare scoreline seemed to sum up the start to the season for the two Dublin rivals: Rovers very tight at the back, this their fourth clean sheet in six games, while Pat’s really are struggling to find the net, with only three goals and all of them from one man, Mikey Drennan.
Pat’s had some good passages of play at a packed Richmond Park, Robbie Keane among the attendance as part of his scouting duties with the Ireland set-up.
But Rovers keeper Alan Mannus barely had a save to make, while Brendan Clarke was much busier at the other end.
Fans were still settling into their seats when the away side took the lead on six minutes. It was a defensive slip which gifted Rovers the lead. Lee Desmond was too slack in possession, the ball fell to Aaron Greene and Desmond’s defensive partner Kevin Toner felt he had no option other than to push Greene, causing referee Neil Doyle to award a penalty, which McEneff (pictured) converted.
The Saints’ best chance fell to ex-Rovers man Drennan on 33 minutes but his header was wide. Pat’s were unable to give more service to Drennan despite the best efforts of their man of the match, Brandon Miele.
Rovers had second-half chances to add to their lead, Clarke saving from Roberto Lopes in a goalmouth scramble on the hour mark, while Greene should have made it 2-0 on 78 minutes, and late pressure from the home side was not enough to yield an equaliser.
St Parrick’s Athletic – B Clarke; Madden, Toner, Desmond, Bermingham; Lennon, Clifford (Shaw 64); Miele (D Clarke 64), McCabe, Forrester (Doona 74); Drennan.
Shamrock Rovers – Mannus; O’Brien, Lopes, Grace, Clarke; Bolger; Byrne (Watts 78), Finn (Bone 90), McEneff, Carr (S Kavanagh 75); Greene.
REF – N Doyle