Date: 7:45 p.m. June 5, 2009
Venue: Richmond Park
To add to their recent injury woes captain Mark Quigley was a late withdrawal for the home side and given the strength of Bohs' bench, never mind their starting eleven, it was difficult to see any other outcome than an away win and a handy one at that. However, there is a steely resilience about Jeff Kenna’s side of late, typified by some robust early tackles as they set about knocking their Dublin neighbours out of their imperious stride.
Although there were Pats fans' hearts in mouths when Kilian Brennan curled a free-kick just wide of Gary Roger’s goal with just nine minutes on the clock, there is genuine quality in this Pat’s side regardless of injury, suspension or being played out of position and it was they who took the game to their esteemed opponents. Even if it was Bohs' Graham Carey who wasted the first real chance of the game shooting wide after wriggling free of Noel Haverty’s attention on 18.
Not to be deterred however, Pat’s went close with a shot of their own when Enda Stevens' excellent left foot found utility striker Jamie Harris, whose knock-down was struck left footed by John Lester firmly but just wide of Brian Murphy’s goal. On 31 they were made pay for not having a recognised striker on the pitch as Harris initially did well to out-muscled Brian Shelley on the edge of the Bohs penalty area but attempted to shoot when clearly being held and, due to the interference, his off balance shot amounted to nothing.A more seasoned striker would surely have waited to regain his balance or looked for a penalty.
Ryan Guy then shot just over seconds later and the home support began to believe a shock could be on the cards. The game was absorbing enough as a contest given the level football on show and the phenomenal pace it was taking place at. Like every good derby, it was not short on incident either, as yellow cards rained like confetti but for all the game’s plus points it lacked a goal as the teams trudged off for half-time just as they started, level at nil all.
When the teams re-emerged for the second half it was again Pat’s who appeared the more intent on forcing the issue and despite the sun setting over Inchicore their energy was not to be diminished. Bobby Ryan’s appearance in the eighth minute of the second period, his first for nine months, made an already boisterous home support semi-euphoric and what happened from the stoppage that led to his introduction had them swinging from the roof tops.
Lester’s dangerous delivery was attacked well by Harris and in the ensuing scramble the ball could have fallen to anyone. Pat’s luck had to change at some point and it fell to the spritely Guy who made no mistake despite Murphy’s best efforts in front of a very large band of travelling supporters at Richmond Park’s Shed End.
The champions are made of stern stuff and manager Pat Fenlon threw on Glen Crowe and Heary in the search for an equaliser on 63 and it almost made immediate dividends as Heary’s shot was deflected goalward by Paul Keegan and it took some alert keeping by Rogers to deny him. Carey then struck a brilliant free-kick just over with Rogers beaten all ends up.
But this was to be Pat’s night, another Lester cross flashed across Murphy’s goal seemingly evading everyone except Jason Gavin who’s composure had been a real feature of the game and he beautifully stroked the ball back where it came from to nestle in the away team’s net after 68 enthralling minutes
Bohs' threatened a response and applied some pressure through Crowe’s added presence in attack and Carey’s ability on the left flank. It was not to be though, as Lester, who had a hand in the opening two goals, put the icing on the Pat’s cake with a thunderbolt volley from 20 yards following a clever Harris knock down.
Harris may have lacked guile in front of goal in the opening stages but his physical prowess had the Bohs’ back line at sixes and sevens for the entirety of the contest. Bohemians, to their credit, continued to push forward but the scant outcome for some enterprising attacking play was a headed goal by substitute Heary.
Pat’s played down the clock well and the joy from their supporters at the final whistle following a cruel start to the season was infectious. Bohs will come again but this was to be Pat’s night.
St.Patrick’s Athletic:Rogers, Haverty, Gavin, Partridge, Stevens, Lynch, Lester, Maher, Moran (Ryan 53mins), Harris, Guy Subs not used: Clarke, Haran, Lawless, Fitzpatrick
Bohemians: Murphy, Murphy, Powell, Cronin (Deegan, 74mins), Shelley, Oman, Carey, Keegan, Fenn (Crowe, 63mins), Byrne, Brennan (Heary, 63mins) Subs not used: Hughes, Gregg
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Jason Gavin - a rock at the back and his class was apparent in everything he did including his decisive goal.
Referee: Dave McKeon