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Saints outclass hapless Bohemians to keep title hopes alive

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Christy Fagan celebrates after scoring St Patrick's Athletic's first goal in their league clash with Bohemians at Richmond Park. Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Christy Fagan celebrates after scoring St Patrick's Athletic's first goal in their league clash with Bohemians at Richmond Park. Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Christy Fagan celebrates after scoring St Patrick's Athletic's first goal in their league clash with Bohemians at Richmond Park. Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

St Patrick's Athletic kept alive whatever slim hopes they have of retaining their title as they saw off Bohemians for the second time in three weeks at Richmond Park.

Any fears the Saints faithful had that Liam Buckley would rest most of his first team players ahead of Sunday's FAI cup semi-final against Finn Harps were allayed when the Pat's manager made just three changes to the side that drew with Shamrock Rovers last Friday.

Two goals in three first-half minutes set Saints on their way to a routine victory, with Bohs offering little by way of an attacking threat.

Christy Fagan extended his lead at the top of the goal scoring charts when he netted his 18th of the campaign after being put through by Ian Bermingham.

Things went from bad to worse for the visitors four minutes before the break. Aaron Greene was left completely unmarked at the back post and he had the easiest task to head Fagan's deflected cross into the back of the net.

Dinny Corcoran might have done better in first half stoppage time but he couldn't direct his header on target.

Bohs' languid performance mirrored that of their mid-table position and the season's end can't come quick enough for Owen Heary's side.

Their sloppy defending should have been punished again but Chris Forrester shot straight at Aaron Shanahan after he played a clever one-two with Fagan.

But predictably, the Bohs defence folded shortly after. Keith Fahey who dictated the tempo all evening played a trademark defence splitting pass through for Conan Byrne and the in-form attacker kept his cool to slot home his 15th league goal of the season.

Substitute Anto Murphy did grab a consolation for Bohs late on but at that stage, the home side's attentions had long turned to Sunday's semi-final and based on last night’s performance, an ominous task lies ahead for Finn Harps.

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The title may not make its way back to Inchicore but Pat's have at least cut the gap between themselves and leaders Dundalk to seven points and, at the same time, taken a big step towards ensuring European football next season.

St Patrick's Athletic: Clarke; McCormack; Browne, Hoare (Oman 83), Bermingham; Bolger (Chambers 69), Fahey (Brennan 75), Greene; Byrne, Fagan, Forrester.

Bohemians: Shanahan; Pender, Price, Lopes, Memery; Moore (Evans 66), Hyland (Kavanagh 56), Wearen (Murphy 73), Buckley, Beattie; Corcoran.

Referee: D McKeon (Dublin).


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