Shamrock Rovers put champagne on ice as St Pat’s win to delay celebrations for now

Repeat of FAI Cup semi-final sees Dublin side plunge Dundalk into relegation trouble

St. Patrick’s Athletic’s Billy King celebrates scoring a goal with his team mates. Photograph: Brian Reilly-Troy/Inpho

St. Patrick’s Athletic’s Billy King celebrates scoring a goal with his team mates. Photograph: Brian Reilly-Troy/Inpho

 

St Patrick’s Athletic 1 Dundalk 0

Billy King punished Dundalk for the second time in the space of 72 hours to plunge the Louth club deeper into relegation trouble and ensure Shamrock Rovers will have to wait until at least Friday to be crowned SSE Airtricity League champions for the second year in-a-row.

The Scot opened the scoring when Stephen O’Donnell’s side booked their place in the FAI Cup final against the holders on Friday night and repeated the feat again at Richmond Park with a similar goal.

While the result puts title celebrations in Tallaght on ice, this result - coupled with Waterford’s 2-1 win away to Bohemians - means Dundalk, who have played a game more than those around them, are level on points with the side they play at Oriel Park on Friday night and just a point above Finn Harps who now sit in the promotion/relegation play-off spot.

With three backroom staff quitting the club since their FAI Cup exit at Richmond Park on Friday, there is now the very real prospect of the crisis hit Louth club facing the drop for the first time in 19 years.

Dundalk had the best of the early chances. The first arrived on 14 minutes when Will Patching had a go from a free wide on the left that Vitezslav Jaros had to tip over.

The resultant corner then broke to Sam Stanton in the six yard box but it was blocked at point blank range by Jak Hickman.

The former Bolton Wanderers player then almost turned provider at the other end on 17 minutes when his cross fell to Robbie Benson at the edge of the box only for his volley to be blocked by Cameron Dummigan.

The visitors then had another big chance on 25 minutes when Raivis Jurkovskis’ cross picked out opposite full back Darragh Leahy but his diving header was brilliantly pushed away to his left by Jaros.

That was to prove crucial as Pat’s took the lead a minute later with King collecting a pass from Jamie Lennon on the right before cutting in onto his left foot and firing past a statuesque Peter Cherrie from the edge of the box.

After Michael Duffy had a header deflect wide off Hickman, Dundalk thought they had levelled on 36 minutes when Patching fired to the net after the resultant corner broke to him 25 yards out. However, assistant referee Dermot Broughton raised his flag for offside for what appeared to be the insinuation that Greg Sloggett had got a touch on the shot as it made its way goalwards.

The second half was devoid of clear cut chances with the pick of them falling to Daniel Kelly on 56 minutes when he was picked out on the break by Duffy only to fire over under pressure from Alfie Lewis.

Leahy did have a chance to rescue a point for Dundalk in stoppage time but his header was straight at Jaros.

St Patrick’s Athletic: Jaros; Hickman, Bone, Desmond; Griffin; Lennon, Lewis; King (Bermingham 87), Benson (Burns 68), McClelland (Barrett 87); Nwoko (Melvin-Lambert 68).

Dundalk: Cherrie; Jurkovskis, Dummigan, Boyle, Leahy; Sloggett, Stanton (Murray 61); Kelly (Ben Amar 78), Patching, Duffy; McMillan.

Referee: Graham Kelly.

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