Clarke and Mannus goalkeeping heroics sees Dublin derby end all square in Tallaght

A string of top saves from Brendan Clarke and Alan Mannus saw Friday’s derby end in a stalemate.

Darragh Markey competes for possession with Aaron McEneff.
Darragh Markey competes for possession with Aaron McEneff.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Shamrock Rovers 0

St Patrick’s Athletic 0

A DRAMATIC, TENSE Dublin derby ended all square between Shamrock Rovers and St Patrick’s Athletic on Friday night as both sides were forced to settle for a point at Tallaght Stadium. 

Stephen Bradley’s side were ten points behind league leaders Dundalk before kick-off and will have had their sights set firmly on their crucial, season-defining FAI Cup semi-final against Bohemians in a weeks’ time. 

This was very much a game of two halves. Stephen O’Donnell’s St Pat’s side were aggressive and showed plenty of encouraging intent during a hard-fought opening 45 minutes.

However the Hoops very much upped the ante after the interval in search of all three points, substitutes Aaron McEneff and Thomas Oluwa injecting an added sense of purpose in the final third.

Two early penalty shouts for the visitors fell on deaf ears, Mikey Drennan and Ian Bermingham going down inside the box only to be waved away by referee Rob Harvey. Two pile-driving efforts from Lee Desmond and Kevin Toner produced stunning saves from Alan Mannus, but that was as close as the Saints would come to a breakthrough.

brendan-clarke Oh his 200th appearance for St Pat's Brendan Clarke made a number of top saves. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

After the break Bradley’s men took firm control of proceedings. Lee Grace was a constant threat from set pieces, which were duly crossed in time after time with precision by Jack Byrne, who recently earned his first cap for Ireland against Bulgaria.

Brendan Clarke stood firm time after time, however, acting as St Pat’s saving grace between the sticks with repeated heroics. A threaded through ball by Jack Byrne played Sean Kavanagh clean through, only for Clarke to close the space and put the ball wide.

Rovers pushed and probed right until the final moments, vying for all three points late on as O’Donnell’s men sat back and absorbed pressure owing to wave after wave of attacks led by McEnneff, Olwuwa and Graham Burke up front.

A final chance fell the way of Roberto Lopes. A McEneff corner spilled onto the edge of the box and while the Dubliner made a sweet, firm connection, his shot flew narrowly wide of Clarke’s post as both sides had to settle for a point.

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SHAMROCK ROVERS: Alan Mannus, Ethan Boyle, Lee Grace, Lopes, Daniel Lafferty, Sean Kavanagh, Dylan Watts (Aaron McEneff 61), Greg Bolger (O’Neill 71), Jack Byrne, Graham Burke, Aaron Greene (Thomas Oluwa 76).

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: Brendan Clarke, David Webster, Kevin Toner, Ciaran Kelly, Ian Bermingham (James Doona 71), Dean Clarke, Cian Coleman, Rhys McCabe (Forrester 39), Lee Desmond, Darragh Markey (Glen McAuley 81), Mikey Drennan.

Referee: Rob Harvey

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About the author:

Aaron Gallagher  / Reports from Tallaght Stadium.

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