St Patrick’s Athletic 0 Shamrock Rovers 0
The two Dublin clubs that started the season with title aspirations lost more ground on the league leaders here with neither managing to find a way of scoring the goal that would have earned them an extra couple of points.
Despite trailing their rivals by two points, the home side went into the game with marginally the greater momentum after scoring seven in back-to-back wins but Pat Fenlon would have been encouraged before the start by the locals having to start Lee Desmond and Sean Hoare in front of goalkeeper Conor O'Malley due to the ongoing injury problems of first team regulars.
The trio coped well for the most part, though, with O’Malley having to make very few saves of real note in a tightly fought contest characterised by some fiercely competitive challenges and a couple of pretty poor finishes.
Rovers might have grabbed the win at the end when Luke Byrne times his run nicely to meet a curling Keith Fahey free but the left back's diving header flew just wide of the left hand post.
The first half had been even enough with both sides taking a while to get going before eventually carving out chances that might have handed them the lead at the interval. Craig Hyland had done particularly well late on to clear an initial attempt by Greg Bolger before recovering swiftly enough to put Ciaran Kilduff under pressure as he attempted to head home a follow up cross moments later.
O'Malley was a little more fortuitous when he got away with a poor clearance of his own. The ball went straight to Stephen McPhail who fed Michael Drennan who, in turn, then played a neat exchange with Gavin Brennan before firing over from well inside the box.
The striker wasn't to get a second chance like that and as the second half minutes slipped by, it seemed increasingly inevitable that the teams would cancel each other out despite their need to close the gap on Dundalk who now lead them by eight and 10 points respectively.
St Patrick's Athletic: O'Malley; Chambers, Hoare, Desmond, Bermingham; Bolger (McCormack, 55 mins); Byrne, Forrester (Verdon, 81 mins), Brennan, Greene; Kilduff.
Shamrock Rovers: Hyland; Madden, Kenna, Blanchard, Byrne; Cregg, McPhail (R Brennan, 50 mins); Miele (North, 80 mins) Fahey, G Brennan (Waters, 72 mins); Drennan.
Referee: D McKeon (Dublin).