St Patrick’s Athletic 0 Shamrock Rovers 2
Shamrock Rovers re-energised their Premier Division title challenge with a convincing victory over St Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park on Monday night.
Following an initially tentative start to the contest, Saints netminder Brendan Clarke turned away a firm strike from his namesake – Trevor Clarke– on the stroke of 20 minutes. Though this was a minor let-off for the Saints, they immediately forced Alan Mannus into action at the opposite end.
An error in the Rovers defence saw Mikey Drennan picking up possession in an advanced position and following intelligent link-up play with Christopher Forrester, he produced a fine stop out of the Northern Ireland international.
As the action progressed, the prospect of a scoreless first half was beginning to loom large. That was until the unlikely figure of Bolger stepped forward in the opening minute of stoppage-time. A league winner with Pat’s in 2013, the Wexford man found space in the opposition box and unleashed an unstoppable drive into the bottom left-hand corner.
Having gone through the month of June without a win to their name, Rovers suddenly had maximum points within their sights.
New additions Graham Cummins, Garry O’Neill and Neil Farrugia are expected to add considerable depth to their squad, but it was 2018 recruit Kavanagh who doubled their lead four minutes after the restart.
The ex-Fulham man superbly negotiated a free-kick on the right-hand side, firing low past the helpless Brendan Clarke for his third goal of the campaign. This left Pat’s with a mountain to climb for the remainder of the contest and despite the admirable endeavours of Harry Kenny’s men, a dramatic fightback never materialised.
ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: B Clarke; Madden, Desmond, Toner, Bermingham; Coleman, Lennon, Clifford (McCabe, 28 mins); Forrester (Doona, 67 mins); Walker (D Clarke, 46 mins), Drennan.
SHAMROCK ROVERS: Mannus; O’Brien, Lopes, Grace, Clarke; Bolger, Finn (B Kavanagh, 76 mins); Watts (Oluwa, 84 mins), Byrne, S Kavanagh; Carr (Greene, 46 mins).
Referee: G Kelly (Cork).