SoccerMatch Report

St Patrick’s Athletic make it four in a row with comfortable win over Derry

The Saints have moved up to third place, now four points off Shamrock Rovers

St Patrick’s Athletic 4 Derry City 1

Jay McGrath, Eoin Doyle, Chris Forrester and Mark Doyle all found the net at a sun-drenched Richmond Park as St Patrick’s Athletic got the better of Derry City to make it four wins on the bounce in the Premier Division.

This result – coupled with a defeat for Bohemians away to Cork City – ensures the Saints have moved up to third place in the top-flight standings. It also leaves them just behind Derry on score difference and within four points of champions Shamrock Rovers at the summit of the table.

The south Dubliners have been a rejuvenated force since Jon Daly was announced as head coach of the club on a permanent basis and despite breathing a sigh of relief when Candystripes skipper Patrick McEleney fired a shot agonisingly wide of the target early on, the Saints grew in confidence as the opening period developed.


In his side’s 3-1 win over UCD at Belfield three days earlier, McGrath picked up an injury and was subsequently replaced by Noah Lewis – who proceeded to bag a brace of goals. However, McGrath was ultimately passed fit for this game and opened his own personal account for the season on 36 minutes with a fierce drive from the edge of the box after he had carried the ball forward with purpose.

Pat’s were significantly buoyed by this opener and former Republic of Ireland Under-21 international Brian Maher was forced into a superb one-on-one save from Eoin Doyle to ensure Derry’s deficit remained at 1-0 during the interval.

The Saints continued to play with considerable vigour on the restart and though he will most likely have been disappointed to let McGrath’s effort past him before the break, Maher once again showed his worth by turning away a powerful Forrester strike.

While an injury to Patrick McEleney forced his hand to an extent, Candystripes manager Ruaidhri Higgins wasn’t slow to make changes as he had introduced four players off the bench by the 52nd minute. Joining Ollie O’Neill (who took over from Michael Duffy at the start of the second half), triple substitutes Cameron McJannet, Jordan McEneff and former Pat’s man Adam O’Reilly were hoping to bring fresh life to the Derry challenge.

Yet the northerners were seemingly left with a mountain to climb just past the hour when Eoin Doyle fired to the bottom right-hand corner after being put through on goal by McGrath.

Derry did receive a potential lifeline courtesy of Cian Kavanagh’s crisp finish at the end of an extended spell of goalmouth action on 65 minutes, but Pat’s responded in swift and immediate fashion. From a Thijs Timmermans corner, Forrester produced an excellent looping header to restore the Saints’ two-goal advantage just shy of the third-quarter mark.

This moved them a step closer to an 11th league triumph of 2023 and Mark Doyle made sure this was sealed in style when he supplied the finishing touches to a breakaway move on 79 minutes.

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: Lyness; Curtis, Lewis, McGrath, Breslin; Lennon, Forrester (Brockbank, 82 mins); Carty (Lonergan, 82 mins), Murphy (McClelland, 74 mins), McCormack (M Doyle, 64 mins); E Doyle (Timmermans, 64 mins).

DERRY CITY: Maher; Boyce, Connolly, S McEleney (McJannet, 52 mins), Doherty; Dummigan (B Kavanagh, 67 mins), Diallo (O’Reilly, 52 mins); Graydon, P McEleney (McEneff, 52 mins), Duffy (O’Neill, 46 mins); C Kavanagh.

Referee: N Doyle (Dublin).