St Patricks Athletic comfortably disposed of the challenge of Drogheda United at Richmond Park tonight. Daryl Kavanagh was the star of the show with two goals while his strike partner Danny North also chipped in with a strike of his own for the Inchicore club.
St Pats dominated the early possession, however they did not create their first real chance until the 23rd minute. Derek Doyle found space in Drogheda's six yard box and his low shot was brilliantly saved by Stephen Trimble in the visitor's goal. Not long after that, Pat's number nine Danny North broke free but his effort proved to be off target.
The home team went in front on 27 minutes and, when it came, it was a very soft goal. Daryl Kavanagh cut in from the left and went unchallenged before firing into the corner of the net past Trimble from the edge of the area. Drogheda manager Mick Cooke was furious with his players for not putting in a better effort to stop Kavanagh shooting.
There was some encouragement for the visitors on 34 minutes when lovely link up play between Ronan McEnteggart and Philip Hand led to a cross from the latter which found the head of David Freeman. However, the Drogheda number nine headed just over the top of the Pats crossbar.
Kavanagh should have put Pats 2 up on 37 mins when Derek Doyle and Danny North set up Ian Bermingham. Birmingham's cross found the Pats number 7 but he shot over. However on 43 minutes the home fans were celebrating again. Daryl Kavanagh played a lovely one two with Danny North before firing past Trimble in the United goal at the second attempt.
Kavanagh continued to be a threat to the United defence after half time. However chances were limited for the earlier part of the second period. Paul Crowley did rise to head over when unmarked on 50 minutes and Danny North shot off target from outside the area in the 67th minute for Pats.
Pete Mahon's team went three up in the 70th minute. More impressive link up play ended with a cross from Ian Bermingham from the left which North finished easily from six yards out. And it could have been four not long after but Sean Stewart's shot was somehow cleared off the line by an overhead kick from Drogheda's Philip Hand.
More excellent play from Stewart in the 75th minute saw him pick out Daryl Kavanagh with an accurate cross from which the Pats striker hit the crossbar with an excellent volley. If it had gone in it would have been a contender for goal of the season.
The game seemed to fizzle out after that. Gary Rogers in the home goal didn’t have a single serious shot to save in the whole 90 minutes. Nor did Drogheda even manage a single shot in the second half.
Pats manager Pete Mahon should be delighted with his side's performance especially considering their recent good form. However, Mick Cooke has a lot of work to do with his his players to turn things around judging on tonight's performance.
St Patricks Athletic: Gary Rogers; Derek Pender, Ian Bermingham, Brian Shorthall, Evan McMillan (Ian Daly, 80); Shane Mc Faul (Stephen Bradley, 22), Paul Crowley (Anto Murphy, 75), Daryl Kavanagh, Derek Doyle; Sean Stewart, Danny North.
Subs not used: Chris Bennion, David McMillan, John Flood, Jake Carroll.
Bookings: Bermingham (19).
Drogheda United: Stephen Trimble; Mark Nolan, Alan McNally (Cillan Thompson, 46), Brian Gannon, Victor Ekanem; Philip Hand, Stephen Quigley, Mark O'Brien, Ronan McEnteggart (Darragh McNamara, 69); David Freeman (Daniel Corcoran, 62), Darragh Hanaphy.
Subs not used: David Quirke, Jack Flynn, Sean Skelly, Robbie Gaul.
Bookings: Thompson (67), Gannon (87), M O'Brien (93).
Referee: Anthony Buttimer.
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Daryl Kavanagh.