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Dublin: 15 °C Wednesday 20 March, 2019
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McPhail and Fahey both see red as Rovers beat Pat's to go third

The Hoops leapfrogged their opponents into third place in the Airtricity League as a result.

Rovers' Ronan Finn shares a joke with Daryl Kavanagh of Pat's after the game.
Rovers' Ronan Finn shares a joke with Daryl Kavanagh of Pat's after the game.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Shamrock Rovers 2

St Patrick’s Athletic 1

SHAMROCK ROVERS leapfrogged St Patrick’s Athletic into third place in the Airtricity League with a hard-fought 2-1 win tonight in Tallaght, with both teams finishing the game with 10 men.

Both Stephen McPhail and Keith Fahey saw red for violent conduct in the second half in a game that was littered with tough tackling.

McPhail was back in the heart of the Rovers midfield having not played since the end of May, and he was involved in the opening goal after just two minutes.

The former Republic of Ireland star slipped the ball to Simon Madden wide on the right, and his low delivery was turned in by Dean Kelly from inside the six-yard box.

The visitors set about cancelling out that early strike immediately, and after both Keith Fahey and Chris Forrester had efforts blocked, Christy Fagan drew them level with 11 minutes played.

Fahey stroked the ball up the right side to Conan Byrne, and his delivery to the near post allowed Fagan to flick the ball beyond Barry Murphy for his 16th goal of the campaign.

Liam Buckley will have been pleased with how his team went about their business thereafter, as they sought to unlock the Hoops defence for a second time.

Both Byrne and Chambers continued where they left off against Bray last week, passing the ball at pace and creating several openings, and Fagan was a constant threat.

For the home side, it was the 40th minute before they really threatened their opponents’ goal, again having been of the back-foot.

Gary McCabe, who was as lively as any Hoops player, found Kelly lurking at the back post, but Conor McCormack applied enough pressure to put the striker off.

Keith Fahey is shown a straight red card by Padraig Sutton Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Having been the most creative Rovers player in the first half, it was no surprise that it was McCabe who put the home side back in front nine minutes into the second half.

With the ball running loose 30 yards from the Pat’s goal, the effervescent winger let fly with a strike that looped over the out-stretched arms of Murphy and into the top corner.

The flight of the ball suggested that it might have taken a slight deflection, but that’s taking nothing away from what was a spectacular effort.

With the momentum back with Trevor Croly’s side, a moment of madness then saw them reduced to 10 men, when McPhail appeared to strike Killian Brennan with his head on the hour mark.

Having collided with Conor McCormack, the experienced midfielder lashed out in the aftermath, leaving the referee with little choice.

Eamon Zayed was quickly withdrawn and replaced by Ryan Brennan for the homeside, while Liam Buckley added another striker to his attack with the introduction of Mark Quigley.

However, that move by the Pat’s boss was soon undermined when Keith Fahey was shown a red card after he raised his hands, pushing over Robert Cornwall.

With chances at a premium, it was not until the 90th minute when Pat’s hit the crossbar twice through Quigley and Byrne that either goal came under threat.

Substitute Daryl Kavanagh crossed the ball for Quigley, and when his looping header came back of the woodwork, Byrne was arriving in only to see his follow-up go the same way.

In injury-time, Rovers broke at pace through Kilduff, and although he picked out fellow substitute Robert Bayly, Clarke saved his shot.

SHAMROCK ROVERS: Murphy, Cornwall, Kenna (c), McGuinness, Madden, Robinson, Finn, McPhail, McCabe (Bayly 90), Zayed (R Brennan 63), Kelly (Kilduff 79). Substitutes: Hyland, D O’Connor, S O’Connor, R Brennan, Bayly, Osam, Kilduff.

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: Clarke, Foran, Bermingham, Browne, McCormack, Fahey, Forrester (Bolger 79), Fagan (Kavanagh 84), Chambers (Quigley 68), Byrne, K Brennan. Substitutes: Gilmartin, Bolger, O’Brien, Lynch, Quigley, Kavanagh, Fitzgerald.

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Simon Walsh

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