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Dublin: 14 °C Sunday 18 August, 2019
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Kelly and Drennan on target as St Pat’s see off UCD to cap off perfect week with third consecutive win

Second-half goals from Ciaran Kelly and Mikey Drennan saw St Pat’s beat UCD 2-0 on Friday.

UCD goalkeeper Conor Kearns fails to keep out Kelly's header.
UCD goalkeeper Conor Kearns fails to keep out Kelly's header.
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

St Patrick’s Athletic 2

UCD 0

Aaron Gallagher reports from Richmond Park

IT HAS PROVEN to be a perfect week for all those involved with St Patrick’s Athletic, with this 2-0 victory against UCD thanks to Ciaran Kelly’s header and another for Mikey Drennan securing the Saints’ third win in as many games over the last seven days.

Yesterday it was confirmed that the Inchicore outfit had been granted a Uefa licence, meaning they would officially be taking part in this summer’s Europa League qualifiers in place of Waterford FC in a little under three months’ time. The club securing an estimated €240,000 in prize money as a result.

That news, now combined with three wins on the bounce after defeats of Sligo and Finn Harps on Bank Holiday Monday, saw happy faces depart Richmond Park on Friday night — as Harry Kenny’s men continue their mission this season to secure a top four finish and potentially more European football again for next summer.

UCD were well worth the point they earned at the start of March when these sides drew 1-1 at the Bowl last time out, and Collie O’Neill’s side more than held their own in the opening exchanges this time around too.

Chris Forrester with Paul Doyle Chris Forrester with Paul Doyle.

Ireland U21 international Neil Farrugia, who this week was reported to have been invited to train with Manchester City’s U23s, showcased all the talents which has made the young winger such a tantalising prospect all throughout this season.

His driving runs, quick feet, cuts inside and clever use of his body to shield the ball and open up space meant the Students carved out plenty of early opportunities, but none which ever came close to properly testing Brendan Clarke between the sticks.

Farrugia, Conor Davies and Jason McClelland were promising in flashes, but it was down the other end where Drennan and Gary Shaw were paired up front in a 3-5-2 formation by Harry Kenny where the game’s immediate danger sat.

UCD goalkeeper Conor Kearns was called into action time and again to keep the scoreline level. Conor Clifford shot wide and then over the bar, before Kearns was forced to produce a world-class save down by his near post to deny St Pat’s captain Ian Bermingham from close range.

Drennan was also denied after a powerful, rifled, left-footed effort met the palms of Kearns, while another chance from point-blank range courtesy of Shaw was also hooked clear.

Collie O’Neill’s young side have impressed with a stylish brand of attacking, passing football back in the Premier Division this season.

But the Belfield side have now just picked up 10 points from a possible 30 battling at the wrong end of the table.

Simon Madden with Mark Dignam Simon Madden alongside Mark Dignam at Richmond Park on Friday. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Captain Gary O’Neill nearly broke the deadlock before a Ciaran Kelly sliding intervention kept the danger at bay and from there UCD’s luck only got worse.

Kelly was the hero in defence with that last-ditch block, before turning goalscorer at the other end.

Drennan’s corner was met by the rising leap of the 20-year-old who directed a low header on target. Even through Kearns got a strong hand to the effort, he could only watch as the ball trickled over the line for 1-0 with half an hour to go.

Shaw should have doubled St Pat’s advantage almost immediately afterwards. Running through one on one the striker set himself up nicely, but turned away in frustration as his right-footed strike was well saved by Kearns off his goal-line.

Kenny’s men went in search of a second to make it a more comfortable ending to the affair and got what they were looking for on 85 minutes when Drennan fired home a close-range re-bound for his sixth of the campaign.

The wins sees St Pat’s maintain their fight for a European finish in 2019, while UCD’s battle down the other end of the table continues with a third consecutive defeat.

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: Brendan Clarke, Simon Madden, Kevin Toner, Ciaran Kelly, Lee Desmond, Ian Bermingham; Conor Clifford, Rhys McCabe (Jamie Lennon 57), Chris Forester (Darragh Markey 82); Mikey Drennan, Gary Shaw (Jake Walker 85)

UCD: Conor Kearns; Daniel Tobin, Liam Scales, Josh Collins, Mark Dignam; Paul Doyle, Gary O’Neill, Timmy Molloy (Richie O’Farrell 80); Neil Farrugia, Conor Davis (Yousef Mahdy 76), Jason McClelland (Sean McDonald 90)

Referee: John McLoughlin

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About the author:

Aaron Gallagher

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