Shamrock Rovers beat St Pat’s to open up 10-point lead at top of the table

St Patrick’s Athletic’s season continues its descent as they fall 16 points behind

St Patrick’s Athletic 1 Shamrock Rovers 2

A magnificent goal from Aaron Greene capped victory for Shamrock Rovers at Richmond Park as the champions opened up a 10-point lead at the top of the table.

Having been top themselves shortly after beating Rovers here in mid-March, St Pat’s season continues its descent. Tim Clancy’s side are now 16 points behind in fourth place, the same gap in finishing second to Rovers last season.

There was no doubting the home side’s early intent in front of the 4,365 in attendance, and they should have taken a sixth minute lead. The tenacity of Darragh Burns won the ball back with Adam O’Reilly and skipper Chris Forrester combining for the latter to tread it through for Billy King who blazed wastefully over the top.

Rovers responded and Dylan Watts’ shot was deflected out for a corner while Greene then worked Joseph Anang.

Anang didn’t look so assured on the 20 minute mark when fumbling an audacious flick from Rovers captain Roberto Lopes as the visitors enjoyed a concerted bout of pressure.

Despite St Pat’s honest endeavour, Alan Mannus in the Rovers goal had precious little to do in a first half Rovers commanded. King did have another half chance in stoppage time however, following good work from Eoin and Mark Doyle, but he again scooped over.

Though St Pat’s came out with more purpose, they lacked a cutting edge as Eoin Doyle planted a free header wide before Forrester forced a save from Mannus from distance.

Rovers maintained their composure and played their way back into the game, breaking the deadlock on 61 minutes. The hardworking Rory Gaffney set up Greene to cross. And though Sean Gannon missed his kick, Lyons was decisive, side-footing into the roof of the net.

Greene sealed the victory on 71 minutes with a sublime second goal. First mesmerising Jack Scott, the Rovers striker then cut past the backtracking Burns before blasting a left foot shot home from a tight angle.

Substitute Tunde Owolabi should have given St Pat’s hope on 83 minutes. But he failed to capitalise on a mistake by Mannus as Lee Grace cleared his shot off the line.

Eoin Doyle’s 93rd minute penalty, after Owolabi had been fouled, proved a mere consolation.

St Patrick’s Athletic: Anang; Scott, Redmond, Grivosti, Breslin; O’Reilly, Forrester; Burns (Owolabi, 82), King, M. Doyle (McCormack, 78); E. Doyle.

Shamrock Rovers: Mannus; Hoare, Lopes, Grace; Gannon (Finn, 73), O’Neill, McCann (Cotter, 79), Lyons; Gaffney (Emakhu, 73), Watts (Ferizaj, 84); Greene (Burke, 79).

Referee: Rob Hennessy (Clare).