CHRISTY Fagan was the hero for St. Patrick’s Athletic as he bagged two goals and assisted the other in a 3-1 victory over Bohemians on Friday night.
The match started slowly with the only chance in the opening 20 minutes falling to Christopher Forrester who hit a half volley which looped onto the roof of the net after eight minutes.
Bohs took the lead with a fantastic goal from talismanic striker Jason Byrne. Craig Walsh picked the ball up in midfield before turning on it and threading a beautiful through ball to Jason Byrne who had peeled off the back of Sean Hoare. Byrne took a touch and calmly chipped the ball over Brendan Clarke with his weaker left foot from the corner of the box.
However, the goal only seemed to awaken Pats and they hit back almost immediately through Christy Fagan. Ger O'Brien put in a cross from the right but Bohemians centre half, Aidan Price, sliced his clearance and the ball dropped to Fagan who then finished expertly into the far corner.
A good run and cross from Ian Bermingham in the 29th minute led to a half chance for Fagan who smacked it straight at Lee Murphy in the Bohs goal.
On the 37th minute Fagan had a fantastic opportunity to put the Saints in the lead. A Fahey cross found Fagan unmarked in the box but he couldn't nod the ball home from point blank range as Murphy pulled off a brilliant save.
In the second half Pats completely dominated the game and created numerous opportunities to take the lead. Keith Fahey and James Chambers were completely controlling the midfield and they were providing superb passes down both flanks for Conan Byrne and Forrester. Conan Byrne and Forrester were then able to get many crosses into the box with Byrne in particular getting a remarkable eight crosses.
One of Conan Byrne's best crosses of the night was to Forrester who missed an open goal from no more than two yards out in the 63rd minute.
However it was just a minute later when Conan Byrne provided another delicious cross which caused a scramble in the Bohs box before the ball eventually broke to Fagan who made no mistake with the finish to grab his second of the game.
After Pats scored their second they appeared to take their foot off the gas and allowed Bohs to get their way back into the game. After 73 minutes Jason Byrne will no doubt be disappointed that he didn't find the equaliser for his team. Darragh Reynor put in a delightful cross to the back post which an unmarked Byrne headed wide from only a few yards out.
The Saints made the game safe after 74 minutes as the marvellous Conan Byrne found Forrester who weaved his way into the Bohs box beating two defenders in the process before finishing past the hapless Lee Murphy.
Despite the fact the game was dwindling towards an inevitable Pats victory, Jason Byrne could have set up a grand finale in the closing stages. Brendan Clarke tipped a Jason Byrne header onto the crossbar after 84 minutes.
A thoroughly deserved win for the champions in a match they dominated.
St Patricks Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Ger O'Brien (Conor McCormack 79), Sean Hoare, Kenny Browne, Ian Bermingham; Conan Byrne, James Chambers (Sam Verdon 87), Keith Fahey, Lee Lynch, Christopher Forrester; Christy Fagan (Daryl Kavanagh 86).
Subs not used: Pat Jennings (gk), Derek Foran, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Peter Durrard.
Bohemian F.C.: Lee Murphy; Derek Pender, Aidan Price, Robert Lopes, Darragh Reynor; Keith Buckley (Paddy Kavanagh 78), Dave Mulcahy, Craig Walsh (Steven Beattie 61), Ryan McEvoy, Andy Mulligan (Karl Moore 46); Jason Byrne.
Subs not used: Jake Hyland (gk), Dan Byrne, Stephen Traynor, Gavin Moore.
Booked: Craig Walsh (54).
Referee: Graham Kelly
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Christy Fagan (St Patrick's Ath).