League Report: St Patrick's Athletic 1 - 2 Shelbourne

Patrick O’Connor reports from Richmond Park

Shelbourne moved five points clear at the top of the Premier Division table after a narrow 2-1 win over St Patricks Athletic in a thrilling contest in Richmond Park on Friday night.

This was one of the games of the season so far played before a full house and Shelbourne just about deserved all three points, albeit that they were hanging on at the end as Pats searched in vain for an equaliser.

With Derry City losing at Dalymount Park, Shels are now the only unbeaten team in the Premier Division and they, not pre season favourites Shamrock Rovers or Derry City, have very much become the team that everybody else is trying to beat.

Jon Daly’s side for their part contributed to a high-quality game and while they failed to pick out any points, their performance will give hope to their fans that they can still climb the table and replicate last year’s top four finish.

The first half was played at a frantic pace, with both sides playing the ball on the deck and eschewing the long ball approach whenever possible.

There was a plethora of free kicks and corners in the opening half, but in most cases the delivery and execution were poor, one aspect of the game that both managers will be looking to address.

The centre forwards on both sides, Sean Boyd of Shels and Ruairi Keating of Pats were well marshalled by Joe Redmond and Paddy Barrett respectively, and it was left to the more deep lying players to try to force the opening goal of the opening half.

Liam Burt and Matty Smith were excellent going forward for Damian Duff’s side while Brandon Kavanagh and Kian Leavy of Pats were a constant threat to the Shels defence throughout.

The stand out player throughout though was a defensive minded player, Shels captain Mark Coyle.

He was head and shoulders about everybody else on the park, with tremendous vision, positioning and an ability to read the game, qualities that allowed him to dominate the middle third of the game throughout the 98 minutes of action.

It was scoreless at the half time but the breakthrough came in the 49th minute when the ever -dangerous Will Jarvis curled the ball into the bottom right-hand corner of the net for an exquisite goal to make it 1-0 to Shelbourne.

Jarvid really turned the screw on Pats about ten minutes later when he wriggled free in the box and slotted home goal number two. Pats’ really came to life after the concession of the second goal and two of their substitutes combined to bring it back to 2-1. Carl Sjoberg curled in an inviting cross in the 72nd minute and Jake Mulraney cushioned a header down low into the left corner of the net for an excellent goal.

It was all Pats from there to the end of the game and they applied huge pressure on the visitor’s defence, coming close to getting an equaliser on a number of occasions. Shels defended very deep during this period, with Boyd effectively playing as a third centre half, but despite being urged on by the vocal home support, they were unable to get the vital second goal that their overall performance probably deserved.


St Patrick's Athletic: Daniel Rogers; Anthony Breslin, Kieran Freeman (Carl Sjöberg 60), Joseph Redmond, Luke Turner; Christopher Forrester (Mason Melia 87), Brandon Kavanagh, Kian Leavy, Jamie Lennon; Ruairí Keating, Jason McClelland (Jake Mulraney 60).

Subs not used: Marcelo Pitaluga, Conor Keeley, Arran Pettifer, Aaron Bolger, Alex Nolan, Cian Kavanagh.

Booked: Brandon Kavanagh (34), Anthony Breslin (64), Carl Sjöberg (80).


Shelbourne: Conor Kearns; Patrick Barrett, Sean Gannon, Gavin Molloy, Tyreke Wilson (Kameron Ledwidge 75); Liam Burt ( John O’ Sullivan 85) Mark Coyle, Jonathan Lunney; Sean Boyd, William Jarvis (Shane Farrell 75), Matthew Smith (Evan Caffrey 63).

Subs not used: Lorcan Healy, Lewis Temple, Keith Ward, Jad Hakiki, Dean Williams.

Booked: Liam Burt (51), Mark Coyle (29), Tyreke Wilson (60),  JJ Lunney (90), Shane Farrell (91), John O Sullivan (95).


Referee: Robert Harvey.

Attendance: 4,988

extratime.com Player of the Match: Mark Coyle ( Shelbourne)