From Sam McKeever in Inchicore
A relegation six pointer on Saturday evening took place at Richmond Park but the sides took home a point each after St. Pat’s were held by Limerick after Shane Duggan scored a goal at the death as the game finished 2-2.
The first real bit of decent play came inside the first five minutes as a ball from Limerick’s Shane Tracy played Chiedoze Ogbene through on goal but Jordi Balk got a vital tackle in before he was about to pull the trigger.
Moments later the away side came even closer as Lee J Lynch was in acres of space running towards goal after winning the ball back from Killian Brennan. His effort forced a good save from the Lukasz Skowron who only could palm it out towards the onrushing Ogbene. However the ‘keeper pulled off a fantastic double save as the away side dominated in the opening exchanges.
The Saint’s however put a lovely move together just before the 20th minute mark as the ball was played in by Conan Byrne. His lovely driven pass to the edge of the box saw Owen Garvan flick find Paul O’Conor who then returned it to Garvan but his effort caused no trouble for the ‘keeper.
Liam Buckley’s side had a decent chance to score moments later as Ian Birmingham got down the right hand side before putting in a fantastic cross which found the head of Christy Fagan who headed over the bar.
Pat’s did have the ball in the net late in the first half as Byrne once again got down the right getting to the by-line. His pull back caused a scramble with the ball reaching Billy Dennehy but linesman Robert Clarke judged the Tralee man of being offside.
Limerick got the vital breakthrough just before the half-time whistle as Ogbene, who influence had died down after the opening ten minutes, picked up the ball on the left. He cut inside and hitting a superb strike with his right foot off the underside of the bar he gave the Blues the lead.
St.Pat’s hit back straight away though as Byrne put in a fantastic ball across the six yard box to find O’Conor. The former Limerick man tapped home to give his side a much needed equaliser in what was a poor half for the Saints.
Pat’s almost took the lead just before the hour-mark as an in-swinging corner from Byrne found O’Conor on the edge of the six yard box with plenty of space. However he wasted his header putting it over the bar as they tried to kick on from the late equalizing goal in the first half.
Liam Buckley’s side really started to take control of the game putting good passing moves together as Limerick were getting penned further back in their own half as each minute went by. The Saints could not take advantage of this as Limerick goalkeeper Brenden Clarke was not really tested by the St.Pat’s attack. They had the majority of possession but mostly their chances came from set-pieces.
Limerick’s negative approach to just sitting deep was punished with 20 minutes to go. Byrne, who played a big part in everything Pat’s were doing go forward, hit a low shot towards Clarke’s bottom corner. Substitute Barry Cotter tried to convert the effort away from goal but was unlucky as his sliding effort put the ball into his own net.
Shane Duggan broke St.Pat’s hearts in the final moments though as St.Pat’s failed to clear the in the box as the ball broke him. He showed fantastic composure to smash the ball home with his left foot past Skowron sending the travelling support and players into raptures giving them a vital point in the relegation battle.
Limerick stay in seventh place two points clear of St. Pat’s who are level with Sligo Rovers on 34 points – those teams are just a point clear of safety though going into the final three games of the league campaign.
St. Pat’s: Lukasz Skowron; Graham Kelly, Jordi Balk, Lee Desmond, Ian Bermingham; Conan Byrne(Ian Turner 86), Killian Brennan, Owen Garvan, Paul O’Conor(Darragh Markey 80), Billy Dennehy; Christy Fagan (Kurtis Byrne 82)
Subs not used: Patrick Jennings JR, Michael Barker, Gavin Peers, J.J Lunney
Bookings: Killian Brennan (84), Graham Kelly (88)
Limerick: Brendan Clarke; David O’Connor, Lee J Lynch, Shane Duggan, Rodrigo Tosi; Shane Tracy, Tony Whitehead, Stephen Kenny(Barry Cotter 45), Dean Clarke(Joe Crowe 63); Chiedoze Ogbene, Bastien Hery
Subs Not used: Freddy Hall, John O’Flynn, Peter Berki, Killian Brouder, Henry Cameron
Referee: Derek Tomney
Man of The Match: Conan Byrne (St. Pats)