Colmán Stanley reports from Richmond Park
St Patrick’s Athletic defeated UCD at Richmond Park on Friday night with a convincing 2-0 win thanks to second-half goals from Ciaran Kelly and Mikey Drennan.
The home side controlled most of a game with UCD only looking good in patches, and man of the match Kelly put the home side ahead before Drennan hammered home a rebound to put the game beyond doubt.
Pats came into the game looking to build on their recent wins against Finn Harps and Sligo Rovers, and threaten the European qualification spots.
For UCD, all eyes were on star players Liam Scales and Neil Farrugia, whose recent form had been rewarded with offers of trials at Manchester City.
Pats controlled possession and territory in the opening minutes of the first half and should have had an early lead through captain Ian Bermingham.
The defender found himself yards from goal after some awful defending by the home side. He had time to pick his spot but was far too casual, allowing Conor Kearns to pull off a magnificent save.
Ten minutes later, Kearns had a dodgy moment when he dropped an easy looking catch, and nearly let Gary Shaw in for the game’s first.
Pats continued to apply pressure, as Conor Clifford and Mikey Drennan both had half chances, but could not find the net with their efforts.
The Students didn’t threaten for most of the half but began apply pressure in the last fifteen minutes. Neil Farrugia and Jason McClelland both looked lively.
The visitors started the second half as they finished the first, and looked they were getting on top. Their best chance came when Gary O’Neill was played into the box but Kelly denied him with an excellent block.
Pats finally found a way through when Kelly stepped up at the other end of the pitch to get on the end of a corner and hammer home a header.
Kearns looked like he had made an excellent save but the referee deemed that that ball had gone over the line.
Pats began to turn the screw tide as Drennan found himself in space on the edge of the box, but his shot was blocked well.
Shaw should have made it 2-0 soon after when he latched onto a loose ball and burst into the box. His shot was poor and made it much too easy for Kearns to make the save.
Kearns was forced into action shortly after, and again he was able to save his team and deny Conor Clifford after the midfielder had gotten himself into a good position inside the box.
The home side pushed for a second goal and almost got one when Gary Shaw was inches from getting on the end of a brilliant ball across goal from Bermingham.
Pats got their reward soon after when Drennan hammered home the rebound from substitute Darragh Markey’s shot.
Markey had made a penetrating run into the box and forced a good save from Kearns who could only parry it into the path of Drennan.
Pats will be happy with the result and to take their winning streak to three games as Kelly, Simon Madden, and Rhys McCabe all looked very good for the home side.
The visitors showed glimpses of what they are capable of but will be disappointed that they rarely threatened the Pats goal.
St. Patrick's Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Simon Madden, Lee Desmond, Ciaran Kelly, Kevin Toner, Simon Madden; Conor Clifford, Chris Forrester (Darragh Markey 81), Rhys McCabe (Jamie Lennon 58); Michael Drennan, Gary Shaw (Jake Walker 83).
Subs not used: Barry Murphy (gk), Dean Clarke, Cian Coleman, James Doona.
UCD: Conor Kearns; Josh Collins, Mark Dignam, Liam Scales, Dan Tobin; Paul Doyle, Neil Farrugia, Jason McClelland (Sean McDonald 89), Timmy Molloy (Richie O’Farrell 80), Gary O'Neill; Conor Davis (Yousef Mahdy 77).
Subs not used: Gavin Sheridan (gk), Kevin Coffey, Darragh Corcoran, Evan Farrell.
Referee: John McLoughlin.
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Ciaran Kelly (St Patrick’s Athletic).