It was super-sub Jake Kelly who stole the one-sided show at Gortakeegan on Friday night scoring two super goals in St. Patrick's Athletic's emphatic 0-4 win over struggling Monaghan United.
In a slow-paced first half that lacked excitement, St. Patrick's Athletic were the more impressive. Pats first effort on goal came in the 3rd minute when Sean O'Connor had a shot but it was hit as wide as the corner flag. The Saints came closer when Ger O'Brien headed the ball to the feet of Darren Meenan in the 8th minute to set him up for a shot but he hit it over the crossbar. St. Pat's dominance continued as the half wore on.
In the 10th minute Greg Bolger had a great chance after good work on the wing, but it was from a difficult angle and he did well to get a good effort out of it but it travelled wide of the post.
In the 21st minute the ball was passed forward to the onside Christy Fagan who had outran the Monaghan back line, forcing Bennion well off his line to the edge of the box. Fagan attempted to chip Bennion but instead hit it directly at him, his frustration was obvious.
Monaghan didn't get a chance to relax from the pressure as Fagan almost immediately attack again and ran into the box forcing a great tackle from Paul Whelan. There were a few desperate penalty shouts but it was simply a great tackle from Whelan.
From a Monaghan free kick, Alan Byrne worked well to get possession and passed to Quinn who held on until he got a corner. Then in the 30th minute Darragh Reynor showed some great skill on the wing to keep possession and passed to Jason Marks but Marks was quickly caught out and the ball was put out of danger.
It was no surprise when Christy Fagan put St Patrick's Athletic ahead as he made a great run into the box to get on the end of John Russell's chip into the box, he only had Bennion to beat and he made sure of it.
Chris Bennion made a great save in the 43rd minute from a Christy Fagan header. The pass into the box was much like the one that created the goal but Fagan's header to the left of Bennion forced a great save from the experienced 'keeper. John Russell almost doubled the Saints lead just before half time when he was on the receiving end of another dangerous pass and his shot had Bennion beat but trickled wide.
The second half continued much like the first half had ended as with a scuffle in the box to clear the ball but this gifted the ball to Darren Meenan who almost doubled the St. Pat's lead but was saved by Bennion.
Christy Fagan was a major threat to Monaghan each time he got possession and in the 55th minute he nearly doubled his tally again when he tipped the ball past Bennion but Conor McMahon did well to stop the damage.
Much of the half was dominated by St Pat's but they didn't create much in the way of heart-stopping chances in the first 25 minutes of the half. Roddy Collins tried to get something back in this match as he introduced three attacking players by the 71st minute.
But Pat's attack continued and Darren Meenan put a tantalising ball into the box in the 75th minute that needed the slightest of touches to cross the line but nobody got on it.
Monaghan United's Conor McMahon was superb in this match and there was some great work from him in the 80th minute again to prevent the attack. However, Bobby Ryan gave away a free with a clearly accidental handball. Darren Meenan took the free and Bennion punched the ball out of danger.
It was all over for Monaghan in the 83rd minute as Jake Kelly stunned Monaghan with a great shot that had Bennion and the Monaghan defence beat. With another great shot, Jake Kelly did it again two minutes later placing a shot perfectly in the bottom corner of the net.
Monaghan United's defence just fell apart in the 89th minute and allowed Greg Bolger to put the final nail in the coffin as he powered the ball from close range over the head of Bennion and into the back of the goal.
The final scoreline reflected the dominance of St. Patrick's Athletic but did not reflect the work of the Monaghan defence, particularly Conor McMahon and Alan Byrne who have been consistently strong and credit has to be given, but this was St. Pats night and they made sure of it.
Monaghan United: Chris Bennion; Alan Byrne, Roddy Collins (Bobby Ryan 65), Conor McMahon, Paul Whelan; Owen Humphrey (Michael Isichei 53), Willo McDonagh, Keith Quinn, Darragh Reynor; Tony Griffiths (Conor Murphy 71), Jason Marks.
Subs Not Used: Aidan Collins, Shane Dunne, Micheal Schlingermann.
St. Patrick's Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Ger O'Brien, Kenny Browne, Conor Kenna, Ian Bermingham; Greg Bolger, Darren Meenan, Sean O'Connor (Jake Kelly 61), John Russell, Jake Carroll; Christy Fagan (Dean Kelly 78).
Subs Not Used: Ryan Coombes, Ian Daly, Pat Flynn, Barry Murphy, Aidan Price.
Referee: Neil Doyle.
Extratime Man Of The Match: Christy Fagan (St Pats Ath).