Two Derek Doyle goals rescued a point for St Patrick’s Athletic as they had to come from behind against a hard working Dundalk side at Richmond Park on Sunday afternoon.
With a trip to Kazakhstan coming up in midweek St Pats might have been excused for being a little bit distracted against Dundalk but the absence of Danny North from the home line-up was the only real concession to the club’s European adventure. The players certainly showed no signs of having other things on their minds as they set about Dundalk from the beginning.
With Shane McFaul back to his imperious best at the heart of midfield and with Derek Doyle and Ian Ryan being particularly energetic in attack, the home side always looked the more likely to score and on ten minutes Evan McMillan rose unchallenged to meet a Daryl Kavanagh free and spin a header just inches wide of Peter Cherrie’s near post.
Moments later Paul Crowley found some space 20 yards out and cracked a shot against the post. The rebound was cleared for a corner that Kavanagh delivered to the back post where Derek Doyle met it on the volley and buried the ball low into the Dundalk net.
Gradually Dundalk played their way back into contention and Mark Griffin almost equalised on 20 minutes when he was played through by Mark Quigley, but the young strike slid his shot narrowly wide of Gary Rogers’ right hand post. Four minutes later and an attempted chip from Quigley almost found the run of Keith Ward but a crucial headed interception by Evan McMillan foiled the chance.
On 33 minutes the visitor’s efforts were rewarded when Mark Griffin got on the end of a Stephen Maher cross from the right and powered a low shot past Gary Rogers for the equaliser. Pats soon took back the initiative and Doyle might have shot on 39 minutes instead of pushing the ball out to Ian Bermingham who failed to trouble Cherrie in the Dundalk goal.
Five minutes into the second half and Dundalk had taken the lead somewhat unexpectedly. Quigley had just had a dipping shot tipped over the bar by Rogers and when Ross Gaynor delivered the corner Griffin headed it goalwards for Keith Ward to tap over the line.
But Pete Mahon’s men refused to let their heads drop and their attacking energy while behind was impressive. It took ten minutes for them to build an equaliser but bang on the hour mark Derek Doyle reached a flick on from Shane Guthrie at Dundalk’s back post and angled his header past Cherrie and into the visitor’s net.
The remaining half hour offered opportunities to both sides but it was St Pats who enjoyed the lion’s share of the chances. Perhaps the best chance came in added time when substitute David McMillan evaded the challenge of Dean Bennett and delivered a ball in from the right that Madden only cleared as far as McFaul. His effort from 15 yards flew wide and both sides were forced to settle for a point, a situation that will please Ian Foster more than Pete Mahon.
St Patrick’s Athletic: Gary Rogers; Derek Pender, Shane Guthrie, Evan McMillan Ian Bermingham; Anto Murphy, Paul Crowley (Sean Stewart, 80), Shane McFaul, Derek Doyle; Daryl Kavanagh, Ian Daly (David McMillan, 63).
Subs not used: Chris Bennion, Jake Carroll, Neil Harney, Mark Logan, Gareth Coughlan.
Bookings: McFaul (17).
Dundalk: Peter Cherrie; Stephen Maher, Simon Madden, Dean Bennett, Nathan Murphy; Daniel Kearns, Greg Bolger, Keith Ward, Ross Gaynor; Mark Quigley, Mark Griffin (Johnny Breen, 83).
Subs not used: Paul Murphy, Philip Duffy, Chris Kerr.
Bookings: Bolger (31).
Referee: Richie Winter.
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Shane McFaul (St Patrick's Athletic).