Rovers beat rivals thanks to gifted goals

Pat’s too easily brushed aside at Tallaght Stadium

Shamrock Rovers 3 - 0 St Patrick's Athletic

National League

Airtricity League Premier Division, Tallaght Stadium, Dublin 15/3/2013Shamrock Rovers vs St. Patrick's AthleticRovers' Pat Sullivan and John Russell of St. Patrick's AthleticMandatory Credit ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

Date: 11 March, 2013

Venue: Tallaght Stadium

Fri, Mar 15, 2013, 23:26

   

It would be rash to start writing anybody out of the championship race when the teams have barely got out of the starting blocks. Still, anyone who travellled to Tallaght last night with the intention of getting an early sense of how St Patrick’s Athletic might shape up over the months ahead must have been tempted to simply draw a line through their names. Failing that, the old school report favourite “Must try harder,” springs to mind.

Rovers deserved their win but the ease with which they earned is bound to worry Liam Buckley. A year ago the then champions left Richmond Park badly shaken by the tenacity of the hosts. Here, on Rovers’ turf, St Pat’s were timid for the best part of the night, occasionally stringing a few passes together but very rarely much more and almost never, until it was really too late, showing the mix of ambition and ability required to seriously trouble Barry Muphy or his back four.

Their night was summed up by the goals they conceded with the first two, in particular, taken well by the hosts but still more memorable for the defending, or lack of it. Ronan Finn’s cross for the first after 20 minutes was certainly inch perfect but how the visitors’ two centre halves allowed Ciarán Kilduff to drift into the space between them so close to goal was bewildering as, to a certain extent, was Brendan Clarke’s lack of a real response to a header that the striker placed directly above him.
The goalkeeper was more culpable just after the break for the second, though, when he badly misjudged his attempted save and somehow allowed the ball evade the swipe of his hand intended to deflect it away from Gary McCabe’s spinning effort.

Fortunately, he went some way towards redeeming himself with a fine save moments later as Seán O’Connor let fly from distance and the goalkeeper had to get down both fast and low to his right.

It took a while but his team-mates started to show signs of improvement too as the half progressed, with Conor Murphy thrown on to provide some welcome support to Christy Fagan and Greg Bolger adding a little more drive to central midfield.

In the Rovers goal, Murphy didn’t always look entirely convincing but really he didn’t have a save to make until the closing stages when, most memorably, he stopped Conor Kenna’s goal-bound header very smartly indeed. The visitors might have taken some encouragement for the incident had they not conceded slightly comically moments later.

Jake Carroll was the culprit this time with the substitute failing to make what looked an entirely straightforward interception out on the wing when he was the last man back. McCabe set up Finn for a tap-in.

Shamrock Rovers: Murphy; Sullivan, Foran, McGuinness, Powell; Chambers (McCormack, 71 mins); McCabe, Finn, Robinson, O’Connor (Stewart, 68 mins); Kilduff (Dennehy, 86 mins).

St Patrick’s Athletic: Clarke; O’Brien, Kenna, Browne, Bermingham; McFaul; Byrne (Carroll, 71 mins), Russell (Bolger, 61 mins), Brennan, Forrester (Murphy, 52 mins); Fagan.

Referee: P Tuite (Dublin)