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In the race for Europe, St. Pat's and Shamrock Rovers played out an even 1-1 draw in a match that seen McCabe give the Hoops an early lead before Conan Byrne levelled for the Saints. Both sides nearly won it at the end as Ciaran Kilduff spurned a glorious chance and Chris Forrester also went close.
The Hoops were looking to close the seven point gap on the Saints for the third European place, while the Saints knew that a win would all but guarantee European football again for next season. However, the 1-1 draw leaves a small chance for the Hoops to claw their way into Europe through their final league position.
Having conceded 17 league goals at home this season compared to just 20 home and away in the whole of last season, Liam Buckley will have been onto his players to cut out silly mistakes and become a more solid unit. Despite this, the Saint's started the game slowly. Three minutes into the match, Kieran Marty Waters managed to manufacture two shots at goal in a matter of seconds, both of which were curled towards the far corner but Brendan Clarke got down well to save twice.
The hoops were rewarded for their strong start as Gary McCabe put them in the lead after four minutes. Unfortunately for the Saints, the goal was more a consequence of poor defending rather than good Hoops attacking play. The impressive Simon Madden delivered a deep cross only for Ger O'Brien to mishead the ball allowing McCabe to nip in before Brendan Clarke to prod the ball home.
The Hoops were by far the more impressive side in the first 15 minutes as the Saints struggled to find any rhythm to their play. Paddy Cregg had done a good job anchoring the Hoops midfield, breaking up any threat of a promising Saints attack.
It was clear that Pat Fenlon had set his troops to come to Richmond Park to attack with speed, playing quick passes up field while remaining responsible at the back. The Hoops looked to counter rapidly at every opportunity with the raw pace of Karl Sheppard up front. A swift Hoops attack on the 12th minute nearly ended in a second goal as Ronan Finn's ferocious strike whizzed past the post.
It took twenty minutes before Pat's managed a noteworthy chance and it was the result of a misjudged backpass from Conor Kenna which ended with Keith Fahey dragging a poor shot wide.
The Saints were beginning to come into the game as the ever consistent Ian Bermingham rampaged forward on numerous occasions but his clever pull backs were not met with the same quality. Christy Fagan also displayed his fantastic ability at linking the Saint's play together.
After the restart Pat's continued to press for the equaliser, which finally came on the hour mark through their four goal hero from in this fixture last season, Conan Byrne. Forrester was beginning to pull the strings in the centre of the park and he played a superb through ball to Fahey who had pulled out to the right. He dinked his cross to Fagan, who headed back across goal to find Byrne who finished well.
The last ten minutes was hectic stuff. Both sides gave it their all to find the winner. It was Rovers who nearly got it when on the 82nd minute the ball was headed across goal and Jason McGuinness jumped with the Saint's keeper Clarke and won the header against the crossbar.
The Hoops continued to press and following a clever one-two between Kilduff and Cregg, the former volleyed a fantastic chance straight at Clarke. However, the Saint's refused to lie down and they came back with a great opportunity of their own through Chris Forrester who went extremely close from a tight angle.
It was a fantastic end to the game which finished with a deserved point for each side. Although, the Saints will have the happier set of fans as they look to secure the European football. Furthermore, Rovers last won a league game in Richmond Park in 2010, a stat that their fans will be desperate to rectify next season.
St. Patrick's Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Ger O'Brien (Aaron Greene 21), Kenny Browne, Sean Hoare, Ian Bermingham; Conan Byrne, James Chambers, Conor McCormack, Keith Fahey, Chris Forrester; Christy Fagan.
Subs Not Used: Derek Foran, Mark Quigley, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Peter Durrad, Sam Verdon, Pat Jennings (gk).
Bookings: James Chambers (48), Ian Bermingham (58), Keith Fahey (72), Sean Hoare (84)
Shamrock Rovers: Barry Murphy; Simon Madden, Conor Kenna, Jason McGuiness, David O'Connor; Kieran Maty Waters (Sean O'Connor 45) , Patrick Cregg, Stephen McPhail, Ronan Finn (Ciaran Kilduff 75) , Gary McCabe (Ryan Brennan 64); Karl Sheppard.
Subs Not Used: Craig Hyland (gk), Rob Cornwall, Shane Robinson, Dean Kelly,
Bookings: Gary McCabe (62), Paddy Cregg (70), Ciaran Kilduff (84)
Referee: Tomas Connolly
Extratime Man Of The Match: Patrick Cregg