Date: 7:45 p.m. Nov. 6, 2009
Venue: Richmond Park
Ryan Guy 39' -
The Saint’s early fervour and energy was obviously drawn from the red hot atmosphere in the stands as they displayed the type of industry and commitment that had been amiss for too much of their season to date.
Stuart Byrne set the tone with a full blooded sliding tackle on the half way line after two minutes and Mark Quigley took on the baton of leadership from that point and ran with it, as he managed to show up here, there and everywhere displaying deft touch and clever ball usage.
Glen Fitzpatrick had the two best chances of the half before Guy’s match winning cameo. On eleven minutes the big striker found space inside the Rover’s penalty area but couldn’t keep his shot low enough to trouble Alan Mannus in the away goal.
Then following some tidy passages of play from both sides as Fitzpatrick, who was filling in for the unfit Declan O’Brien, exploited virtually the same position as he had 12 minutes earlier but opted to try and chip Mannus on this occasion and once again his effort ended up in the stands.
The breakthrough finally came for Pat’s in the 39th minute following some pretty decent pressure, although they appeared to have passed up a great chance when Jason Gavin shanked a shot off target from a Garreth O'Connor corner. However, Fitzpatrick was on hand to collect and loft the ball back into the box and Guy rose highest to head in at the near post and send Richmond Park into hysterics.
And Pat’s could have taken a two goal advantage into the break had it not been for some alert goalkeeping from Mannus to first dent Byrne from distance and then Guy who was looking to profit from the follow up.
Following the restart it was Rovers who flew out of the traps and Paddy Kavanagh was desperately unlucky not to score after a fine run, but his shot his shot from inside the area was deflected over. Then Fitzpatrick really ought to have done better again but only barely made contact with a free header 12 yards from the Rovers’ goal on 50.
Positive news from Terryland and The Showgrounds was beginning to filter through to Richmond Park crowd, although it didn’t appear to be getting on to te pitch as the Pat’s players were still working like Trojans to close down their esteemed opponents and furiously chased every lost cause.
Chances continued to fall the home sides’ way as both Fitzpatrick and Guy failed to find the target when well positioned.
With the game fascinatingly poised and the news of a Galway United equaliser doing the rounds, tension was high. Pat’s inevitably began to sit deeper and deeper and the pressure on Brendan Clarke’s goal mounted.
But Pat’s were simply not to be denied as player after player put their bodies on the line for the cause, not least Jamie Harris who was announced as Man of the Match at the ground which was greeted with huge applause by the home support. However, the cheer was nothing compared to the one which greeted the final whistle, Pat’s had won and preserved their Premier Division status thanks to Guy’s goal and Galway’s draw at home to Cork City.
Man of the Match: Mark Quigley, oozed class and ran all night.
St. Pat’s: Clarke, Lynch (Haverty ’74), Gavin, Harris, Stevens, Guy, Byrne, O’Connor, Bobby Ryan, Quigley, Fitzpatrick (O’Brien ’79). Subs not used: Cawley, Rogers, Darragh Ryan.
Shamrock Rovers: Mannus, Sullivan, Price, Sives, Cahill, Robinson, Chisholm, Bradley (Amond ’75), Kavanagh (O’Connor ’61), Twigg, Barrett (Baker ’61). Subs not used: Maguire, Duggan.
Referee: Alan Kelly