Goals in either half were enough for St. Patrick’s Athletic to get their Airtricity League Premier Division season off to a flying start with a 2-0 win over ten-man Galway united in Richmond Park tonight.
The explosion that was the opening to the game could have and should have been given an even earlier spark when after five minutes Alex Williams found himself only managing to hook a volley over Barry Ryan’s crossbar from the edge of the six yard box following some determined build up play from Pat's captain Damien Lynch.
It can often be used as an excuse that a chance has come too early for a
player, a theory that Ryan Guy clearly does not subscribe to as only three
minutes later the American found himself free in the Galway box when fed by
The winger calmly set himself and his left foot shot had too much power for Ryan to keep out as the former Pat’s stopper was beaten at his near post to send the Inchicore crowd into raptures.
When Galway seemed to finally be settling, the game had its second incendiary moment. Visiting midfielder Stephen O’Donnell appeared to have nipped in ahead of David Mulcahy on the half-way line and been clipped in the process, however, the referee didn’t see it the same way and awarded O’Donnell his second yellow of the game after only 17 minutes for simulation.
O’Donnell was clearly distraught by the decision, but there was no real complaint from the ex-Bohemian’s man who left the field with his head in his hands.
Bizarrely the game then began to settle down and there was little if anything to report incident wise for the remaining half hour or so of the opening period.
Pete Mahon would have been concerned by his team’s apparent inability to maximise their numerical advantage, while Sean Connor would have been mightily relieved at the character his players showed in keeping themselves in the game.
The second-half started almost as dramatically as the first as a brilliant Derek O’Brien free-kick on 46 flew inches over Gary Rogers’ crossbar with the Pat’s netminder a mere spectator. Not to be outdone, Byrne then screamed a long-range effort of his own into the Shed End of the famous old ground.
The primary source of creativity for Mahon’s men was coming down the Saints’ left and a whipped delivery from Gareth Coughlan on 68 caused panic in the Galway box and when the ball fell invitingly at the feet of Alex Williams the striker lashed home for his second of the season from ten yards.
The clinical finish gave Pat’s the comfort of a two-goal lead, which on the balance of play they certainly warranted. Coughlan’s work for the evening was done and he was replaced shortly after by another debutant in Brian Cash.
It was suddenly all too easy for the Dubliners as they went in search of number three to the celebratory cheers of olé from the Richmond Park crowd which greeted every pass.
In the end, the supporters had to settle for two, although fans and players no doubt went home very satisfied with their evening’s work.
St. Patrick’s Athletic: Rogers; Lynch, Kenna, Guthrie, Bermingham (Pender 85); Guy, Byrne, Mulcahy, Coughlan (Cash 71); Faherty (Byrne 81), Williams.
Subs not used: Connor, McAllister.
Galway United: Ryan; Conneely, Heary, McKenzie, Meynell; Foley (Creaney 84), O’Donnell, Curran, O’Brien; Molloy (McBrien 65), Sheppard.
Subs not used: King, Sinnott, Friel.
Referee: Padraig Sutton.
Man of the match: Alex Williams.