Rover’s full back Alan Keane struck in the 87th minute to give the away side a share of the spoils but had Saint’s converted any sort of decent ratio of their chances things would have looked a lot rosier for Kenna.
In a game action packed form the first minute to the last witnessed it’s first goal scoring chance after just two minutes when Saint’s captain for the night Mark Quigley cut in from the right wing and tested goalkeeper Richard Brush with a left foot shot. While at the other end Gary Rogers had to be alert to tip a Richie Ryan free kick around his post just a minute later.
Following that a determined looking Quigley sent a powerful curling effort a foot wide from all of forty yards on eight minutes.And just moments later the Pat's striker got his third chance in the opening 15 minute and should really have done better from 12 yards after some excellent approach play from Enda Stevens.
It was Jeff Kenna’s outfit who continued to force the issue for most of the opening half hour though territorial advantage yielded little in the way of goal scoring opening until more great play down the left on 30 minutes, again involving Stevens saw Ryan Guy flick a Darragh Ryan cross into Quigley’s path but despite a good touch the striker hit his volley over the visitor’s crossbar and the vocal home support were left to rue another missed opportunity.
The away side were by no means out of it however and Brian Cash was a constant threat down Sligo’s right wing and when a measured through ball saw him play in Raffael Cretaro the attacker seemed to loose his bearings and was promptly dispossessed by David Partridge.
The entertaining and lively affair deserved a goal and to the delight of the home side it came on 41 minutes.
Following more enterprising football from Pat's down their left, once more featuring Stevens and Ryan , the ball ended up at the feet of Gareth O'Connor whose cross was too high for Quigley and too far behind Guy for either to get a touch yet it managed to sneak in at the back post with Brush totally flat footed having anticipated a touch from one of the Saint’s attackers.
A game that had been end to end as it was then opened up even more. Romauld Boco tried his luck with left a powerful left foot effort but it was straight at Rogers.
In a lightening quick breakaway Quigley ran at the heart of the Bit’o’Red defence but opted to indulge himself with roll overs and attempted an unnecessarily difficult through ball when the task of him sliding in Moran to his left seemed relatively routine. Moran wasted no time in telling him as much as the ball trickled harmlessly through to Brush.
What a difference a goal makes to an atmosphere at a football ground and the Saint's players, castigated recently, were cheered off as heroes at half-time leading by a goal to nil.
The second half the started even more frenetically than the first as both sides threw men forward in the hope of goals.
Sure enough one came with the second half only five minutes old. A dangerous Shaun Holmes cross was begging to be converted and Rover’s centre half Gavin Peers duly obliged by heading home. Peers simply showed more aggression in getting to the ball than any Pat's defender around him.
A finish showcasing his amazing ability from Saint’s midfielder Alan Cawley on 60 minutes left everyone inside the Inchicore ground breathless. Collecting a defensive header from the back tracking Cash about thirty five yards from goal, he shifted the ball on to his apparently weaker left foot and drove a remarkable effort past a despairing Richard Brush.
More than willing to accept a yellow card for taking off his jersey in the exuberant celebration that followed, Cawley had a produced a moment of genius and he knew it.
The game was approaching it’s conclusion and the home support were in full voice but just as Kenna made his last substitution with the hope of killing time disaster struck. A hopeful long ball pumped forward into the Saint’s area and a flicked header travelled casually in the general direction of the Pat’s goal, the home crowd drew breath and Alan Keane beat Rogers to the punch and his header dropped into an empty net.
And so it finished, Kenna will be devastated and Paul Cooke will be overjoyed and therein lies the story of the game.
Man of the Match: Alan Cawley, there were a lot of impressive performances but the goal would have graced any occasion
St.Patrick’s Athletic: Rogers, Maher (Harris ’65), Partridge, Gavin, Stevens, Guy, Cawley (Lester ’87), O’Connor, Quigley, Moran (Haran ’77) Subs not used: Haverty, McCann
Sligo Rovers: Brush, Keane, Ventre, Peers, Almeida (Keogh ’76), Boco, Cash (McLoughlin ’73), Ryan, Parkhouse, Cretaro (Feeney h/t), Holmes Subs not used: Morrison, Kelly
Referee: Derek Tomney