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Dublin: 10 °C Saturday 19 October, 2019

Pat's denied stonewall penalty as Limerick snatch a point

The Premier Division holders were held to a 1-1 draw at Richmond Park.

Limerick defender Sam Oji and Pat's striker Christy Fagan.
Limerick defender Sam Oji and Pat's striker Christy Fagan.

St Patrick’s Athletic 1 Limerick 1

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC were left to rue several wasted chances after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Limerick at Richmond Park this afternoon.

The reigning SSE Airtricity League Premier Division champions went ahead through top scorer Christy Fagan early in the second half but failed to increase their advantage and James McGrath struck on 77 minutes.

They will feel a little hard done by, however, as referee Tomas Connolly denied them what looked like a stonewall penalty in the first half.

“We would be disappointed about how the game went,” said Liam Buckley. “There are probably five new players there and there is a bit of settling in to be done. We had the bulk of the chances but it was a sucker punch at the end.”

On the penalty decision, he added: “At the time I wasn’t sure of it, but it was a cast iron penalty.”

Buckley had to deal without injured trio Keith Fahey, Ger O’Brien and Kenny Browne so Conor McCormack and Derek Foran started in the back four while Mark Quigley was named alongside Christy Fagan up front.

Limerick, meanwhile, lost goalkeeper Shane Cusack in the warm-up so Barry Ryan was handed a late call-up to the starting XI.

The first big talking point arrived on 19 minutes when McCormack latched onto a back-heel from Conan Byrne and drove into the Limerick box — where he was brought down by James McGrath.

It looked a penalty but, astonishingly, Connolly awarded a goal-kick.

Limerick had their best chance of the first half five minutes later. Skipper Shane Duggan drove a shot from 30 yards, which fizzed just past Clarke’s post.

The visitors were then forced into a change when Shane Costelloe suffered injury and Stuart Taylor introduced Darragh Rainsford into his midfield with Patrick Nzuzi, who was also booked late in the first half, switching to left full-back.

The second half was just four minutes old when the Saints went in front through Christy Fagan. Forrester’s lofted flick-on found the striker and he struck first time on the half-volley for his third league goal of the season.

Pat’s had chances to add to their lead soon later but no one capitalised on Conan Byrne’s dinked cross to the back post and Ryan was on hand to save Fagan’s header after a fine cross from Ian Bermingham.

Forrester and Byrne then switched wings, which allowed the former to cut inside and let fly with a super effort. Ryan was up to the challenge, however, and tipped over brilliantly.

They went even closer when Quigley met Byrne’s corner and saw his header clip the crossbar but it was Limerick who struck against the run of play.

Duggan’s delightful pass found the run of McGrath, who got in behind McCormack and finished well on 76 minutes.

Buckley threw on Lee Lynch, Daryl Kavanagh and Killian Brennan as they went in search of a late winner but Ryan kept out Forrester at the death and it ended all-square.

St Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke, Connor McCormack, Derek Foran, Ken Oman, Ian Bermingham (c), Greg Bolger, James Chambers (Brennan 85′), Chris Forrester, Mark Quigley (Lee Lynch 82′), Christy Fagan (Daryl Kavanagh 82′).

Limerick: Barry Ryan, Shane Kelly, Samuel Oji, Stephen Folan, Shane Costelloe (Darragh Rainsford 42′), James McGrath, Jason Hughes, Patrick Nzuzi, Shane Tracy, Rory Gaffney, Shane Duggan (c).

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Ben Blake

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