FAI Cup Report: St Patrick's Athletic 2 - 0 Limerick FC

Fri, Aug 19 2016

Christy Fagan nods home from close range to seal the win for the Saints. Credit: Laszlo Geczo

Goals from Conan Byrne and Christy Fagan were enough to secure an FAI Cup quarter-final for St Patrick's Athletic as they beat Limerick 2-0 at Richmond Park.

 

Byrne's deflected shot beat Freddy Hall just before half-time to send Pats in with an undeserved half-time lead, but the Saints were utterly dominant in the second half and Fagan's goal was just reward for their efforts.

 

The four-day turnaround from Monday's win over Longford led Liam Buckley to make five changes to his Saints side, with Darren Dennehy, Keith Treacy and Mark Timlin all coming in.

 

Martin Russell made three changes of his own from the side that beat Cabinteely on Saturday: Paudie O'Connor, Paul O'Conor and Chris Mulhall all returned to the team.

 

And the First Division champions-elect began the game with the confidence of a side yet to lose a game of competitive senior football all season, dominating possession and moving the ball freely.

 

They fashioned the game's first chance as – not for the last time – Lee-J Lynch found acres of space in front of the Pats defence and had the confidence to take the shot on himself, driving the ball just over.

 

And slack defending from Sean Hoare, stepping over the ball to leave it for Brendan Clarke without realising Chris Mulhall was on his tail, saw the former UCD striker attempt to steer the ball on goal but he couldn't get his foot around it.

 

Lynch exploited the lack of protection in front of the Pats back four to once again turn the defence around, however his decision to try chip Clarke rather than pass to the better-placed Stephen Kenny was in error.

 

Pats did slowly begin to establish themselves in the game, and they should have had a penalty when Jamie McGrath showed good strength to turn Robbie Williams in the Limerick box before tripping over the Englishman's outstretched leg.

 

No whistle was forthcoming, and McGrath was quickest to pick himself up and pull the ball back for Christy Fagan, whose shot from the penalty spot cracked the bar.

 

They did get the goal their play didn't fully warrant just before half time as a perfectly-weighted crossfield ball from Ian Bermingham found Conan Byrne, and he cut inside before shooting past Freddy Hall, by way of a wicked deflection.

 

Pats could have had another on the stroke of half-time as Byrne did well to touch the ball back to Ger O'Brien, and the full-back strode forward before cracking a drive towards the top corner that Hall did well to touch over.

 

Pats began the second half as they ended the first and, after Fagan was denied by a good Williams block, Byrne forces a super one-handed stop from Hall after he stepped in from the right wing.

 

The best Limerick could muster on the counter was a Shane Tracy cross that found the head of Stephen Kenny, but he could only nod it straight at Brendan Clarke.

 

A strong run from Mark Timlin in the Limerick box saw the ex-Derry City winger flash the ball across goal, and Hall did brilliantly to cut it out, and he did even better to change direction to palm away Graham Kelly's deflected strike.

 

The dam did eventually burst with 14 minutes to play as Timlin floated a corner to the back post and Sean Hoare nodded it back across for Fagan to head into an empty net to give the Saints a deserved two-goal cushion.

 

And it could have been three as Byrne danced through two challenges in the Blues box but couldn't find the finish to beat Hall this time.

 

Limerick had a chance to salvage something three minutes from time as a corner fell to Paudie O'Connor, but Clarke was behind his shot to keep the two-goal cushion and ensure Pats progress to the quarter-finals.

 

St Patrick's Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Ger O'Brien, Darren Dennehy, Sean Hoare, Ian Bermingham; Lee Desmond, Keith Treacy (Graham Kelly 46), Conan Byrne, Mark Timlin (Darragh Markey 90+1), Jamie McGrath (Steven Kinsella 86); Christy Fagan.

Subs not used: Conor O'Malley (gk), Rory Feely, Michael Barker, Dinny Corcoran.

Booked: Christy Fagan (59).

 

Limerick: Freddy Hall; Shaun Kelly, Robbie Williams, Paudie O'Connor, Shane Tracy (Garbhan Coughlan 86); Shane Duggan, Lee-J Lynch, Paul O'Conor, Stephen Kenny (Sean Russell 63), Aaron Greene; Chris Mulhall (John O'Flynn 63).

Subs not used: Tommy Holland (gk), Tony Whitehead, Sean McSweeney, Ross Mann.

Booked: Shane Tracy (65), Sean Russell (83).

 

Referee: Ben Connolly.

Attendance: 881.

Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Freddy Hall (Limerick).

 

You can see pictures from the game by Eoin Smith and Laszlo Geczo here.