Right Guy finishes it for Pat's
St Patrick’s Ath 4 Sligo Rovers 1:IN A season already jam-packed with Dublin derbies, St Patrick’s Athletic ensured a second of the capital’s clubs will travel to the second leg of a Setanta Cup semi-final with a lead to defend.
Having put four past Sligo at Inchicore last night, Pete Mahon’s men look good bets to make the final for the first time ahead of their trip to the Showgrounds this weekend.
A good night for Bohemians in Belfast next Monday and Tallaght could find itself hosting a cup decider this year after all.
Pete Mahon made four changes for the match, perhaps looking to shake things up a little in the wake of Friday’s narrow defeat by Drogheda but the absence of players like Vinny Faherty or, initially at least, Dave Mulcahy suggested the Dubliners do not view becoming all-Ireland champions as their main priority.
Paul Cook’s modifications to his starting line were even more comprehensive, with just four of the 11 who took the field in Bray at the weekend featuring from the outset.
In most departments, the team seemed relatively unaffected but at the back, where Iarfhlaith Davoren made a surprise return and Gavin Peers was around to oversee things as usual, they were repeatedly caught on the hop, with the hosts having bagged a couple of goals from virtually their only two serious attacks of the opening 40 minutes.
Ryan Guy set up the first after nine minutes for Paul Byrne to head home, unmarked from just beyond the near post and, after Eoin Doyle had passed up a decent chance to grab a quick equaliser, Derek Pender set his side on the way to doubling their lead by picking out David McAllister down the right hand side of the Rovers box, from where the midfielder pulled the ball low past Ciarán Kelly and into the far corner.
Rovers nicked one back just before the interval when Gary McCabe’s attempted shot from the left took a deflection that sent it looping over Dan Coonor to the right hand post where Mark Doninger did well to apply a headed finish from very close range.
Within a few minutes of the restart, Mahon’s men had restored the two-goal cushion with a quickly taken free by Damien Lynch setting Gareth Coughlan loose down the left-hand side of the from where he produced an impressive right-footed shot.
From then on, the two sides exchanged chances with entertaining regularity, Donninger and Dean Marshall going close for Rovers while Couglan and Paul Byrne each looked set briefly to get their second of the night.
The visitors were collectively helpless to intervene five minutes from time when Guy capped another fine individual performance with a cracking strike from 25 metres out that flew past Kelly and in.
ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: Connor; Pender, Guthrie, Kenna, Lynch; Guy (Sinnott, 88 mins), McAllister, S Byrne, Coughlan; Williams (Mulcahy, 78 mins), P Byrne (Doyle, 85 mins).
SLIGO ROVERS: Kelly; Whelan, Peers, Foran (Almeida, 85 mins), Davoren; McCabe, Doninger, Ryan, Marshall (Dillon, 64 mins); Doyle (Blinkhorn, 64 mins), Amond.
Referee: D Hanney (Dublin).