Shels and St Pat's finish fiery derby level after eight-goal thriller

The sides finished 4-4 at Tolka Park.

A view of flares on the field near Danny Rogers of St Pats.
A view of flares on the field near Danny Rogers of St Pats.
Image: Evan Treacy/INPHO

Shelbourne 4

St Patrick’s Athletic 4

Darryl Geraghty reports from Tolka Park

THERE WAS NO love lost in a fiery Dublin Derby that saw Shelbourne and St. Patrick’s Athletic share the spoils in one of the most dramatic end-to-end games of the season, and in recent memory.

All Dublin derbies tend to have a bit of needle in them but there was an added tension in this rearranged fixture. Following their impressive 1-0 win in Sofia over CSKA, Tim Clancy’s men found themselves stranded and unable to fulfil their fixture with Shelbourne on the following Sunday, which led to mass confusion and frustration in the Shels camp who felt they should have been awarded the three pints with the suggestion that there may have been more to the story than meets the eye.

On the field though, games between the pair had produced goals this season with the away side emerging victorious in the previous two meetings. The Athletic cruised to a 3-0 victory on opening day whereas The Reds enacted some revenge with a 2-1 victory at Inchicore back in May and this was no different a game that could have been absolutely anything.

The tension between the two was evident both on and off the field as hefty challenges flew in from both sides, but it was the hosts who looked the better in possession and it didn’t take them long to force home their advantage.

Thirteen minutes in Shane Griffin arrowed a long diagonal from left to right towards Shane Farrell who controlled the ball inside on his chest, past Harry Brockbank who missed his kick completely, and on ran top scorer Sean Boyd who coolly slotted home from the edge of the area for his eighth league goal of the season.

Pat’s without three key players in Anto Breslin, Skipper Chris Forrester and Tom Grivosti struggled to contain Shels and just two minutes later keeper Danny Rogers was forced into an outstanding save from Farrell’s whipped free kick that looked destined for the near post.

To their credit the visitors stemmed the flow and got themselves back on level terms through flying wing-back Barry Cotter. The on-loan Shamrock Rovers man latched on to a long ball over the top from “Mr. ever present” this season Joe Redmond.

Cotter shaped to cross, but cut inside onto his left foot and dribbled inside unchallenged and unleashed a low strike with his weaker foot that alluded everyone and flew into the bottom corner.
In a breathless first half the Reds restored their lead just before the half hour mark when ex-Saint, and the Inchicore side’s top scorer last season, Matty Smith hit an unstoppable thunderbolt from 25-yards out to haunt his former side.

There was yet more drama to come when Mark Doyle thought he had equalised, nodding home a Jamie Lennon cross from the right, only for referee Neil Doyle to give a free out as he tussled with Luke Byrne.

As the game entered the dying embers of a crazy first half, The Saints did eventually get their second equaliser. Jay McLelland’s inswinging corner was met by Eoin Doyle at the near post, but saved expertly by Brendan Clarke who did well to touch onto the bar, and as the ball came back out looked to be helped back towards goal by Brockbank and eventually headed into the roof of his own net by Sean Boyd.

There was no let up in the second half as both sides came flying out and for the third time of the evening at a windy Tolka Park, it was the home side who got their noses back in front.

gavin-molloy-and-jj-lunney-with-billy-king Shelbourne's Gavin Molloy and JJ Lunney with Billy King of St Pats. Source: Evan Treacy/INPHO

JR Wilson did extremely well down the Shels right, flicking the ball around McClelland and delivering a low cross that was controlled initially by Brockbank, but a slightly heavy touch allowed the ever alert Boyd to nick in front of the centre half and the surprised Englishman brought down the big number nine.

Boyd held his nerve from the spot going down the middle to make it 3-2.

Bordering on frankly ridiculous, the NBA style clash continued to deliver when just minutes later Tim Clancy’s men had yet another goal ruled out, this time for offside. Eoin Doyle looked to have beaten the offside trap and made no mistake with the finish only to see the assistants flag go up much to his disbelief.

All this with less than an hour played.

Shels grabbed their fourth just after the hour mark, having just had a disallowed goal of their own when Matty Smith was adjudged to have blocked Redmond’s clearance with his arm. Midfielder JJ Lunney capitalised on yet more poor defending from the visitors, curling a left footed effort from the edge of the area after the Pat’s defence again failed to deal with another whipped Wilson cross.

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The visitors were given a lifeline when Farrell got the wrong side of Sam Curtis on a tidy one-two, and the Finglas man hauled down the left wing back. This time Eoin Doyle did get his goal making it 4-3 from twelve yards.

With a quarter of an hour remaining tensions spilled over from the pitch onto the sidelines when Saints boss, Clancy, and Shels coach Alan Quinn had to be separated following some colourful language between the pair. Both received their marching orders as the verbals continued into the stands.

Unbelievably, or what would normally be unbelievable but just continued the narrative of this outrageous clash, The Athletic got back on level terms yet again with 10-minutes to play. Eoin Doyle, having been dragged down by Griffin, dusted himself down to make it 4-4 right in front of the sold out away section sending his fans delirious.

Both sides still had incredible chances to nick all three points before the end. Firstly Barry Cotter struck a wonderful free kick that cannonned off Clarke’s post, that had the former Saints stopper beaten all ends up, before Matty Smith curled a beautiful right footed effort inches past the post, in which some parts of the ground thought had gone in.

Damien Duff’s Shels looked to break with one more attack, but right on the final whistle Jamie Lennon received his marching orders for a second yellow, deliberately halting the attack on the halfway line.

And breath.

Shelbourne FC: Brendan Clarke, John Ross Wilson, Shane Griffin, Luke Byrne, Stephan Negru, Kameron Ledwidge, Gavin Molloy, JJ Lunney (Mark Coyle, 89’), Shane Farrell, Matty Smith, Sean Boyd (Dan Carr, 90+3’)
Subs not used: Scott Van Der Sluis, Aaron O’Driscoll, Lewis Temple, Aodh Dervin. Dan Carr, Josh Giurgi, Gbemi Arubi

St. Patrick’s Athletic: Danny Rogers, Barry Cotter, Joe Redmond, Jamie Lennon, Eoin Doyle, Jason McClelland (Serge Atakayi, 54’), Harry Brockbank, Mark Doyle, Billy King, Adam O’Reilly (Tunde Owolabi, 70’), Sam Curtis
Subs not used: David Odumosu, Ronan Coughlan, Ben McCormack, Ben Curtis, Thijs Timmermans, Paddy Barrett

Referee: Neil Doyle

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