Hoops and Saints end scoreless at Tolka Park

Monday 23rd July 2007, 10:00 pm

Barry Murphy, Shamrock Rovers.

Barry Murphy, Shamrock Rovers.

Photo by Tom Carey.

A 0-0 draw between Shamrock Rovers and Saint Patrick's Athletic means that there has been absolutely no change at the top of the League of Ireland table in this weekend's round of games. The top five sides were all involved in scoreless draws.

Either side could have won the game at Tolka Park with Rovers keeper Barry Murphy making a stunning save to deny Mark Quigley from grabbing a goal for the Saints with one of the chances of the game.

Rovers started better and Tadhg Purcell twice threatened to get in on the end of David Cassidy crosses. Cassidy himself drilled a shot across goal and wide before five minutes had elapsed.

Ryan Guy attempted to improvise at the other end as Anthony Murphy's long throw eventually dropped near him but his volley went well off target. Ger Rowe and Derek Pender both picked up bookings for late tackles on Billy Gibson but things calmed down after that although Gibson did look riled up for a while.

Another Rovers chance saw Dave Tyrell force a save from Barry Ryan at the back post as Cassidy's low cross was missed by Rowe in the box. Rowe again should have troubled his former club but blazed wide after the Pats defence was sucked across following Stephen Paisley's poor attempted header clear.

Stephen Brennan blocked from Purcell in the box as the first half ended scoreless.

Keith Fahey and Guy both hit tame shots at Barry Murphy's goal inside the opening minutes of the second half. Darragh Maguire had a typically strong game at the heart of the Saints defence and more than once made a vital blocking tackle on Purcell.

Brennan had to clear off the visitors' line when Purcell got his head to Tyrell's corner kick on 53 minutes as the Saints weathered the storm. Michael Keane saw his shot take a deflection off Rovers captain Barry Ferguson but the touch wasn't enough to deceive Murphy in the home goal.

Pats had two glorious chances to at least take the lead around the seventy minute mark. Maguire couldn't make a clean enough connection to worry Barry Murphy after Guy had flicked on Anto Murphy's long throw.

However, Murphy saved superbly just seconds later as Mark Quigley looked certain to open the scoring as he flicked Anto Murphy's cross goal-wards. Murphy the goalkeeper got a strong hand to push the ball out and eventually behind for a corner.

Fahey had another shot blocked and Keane had his break-away run cut out by Pender just inside the box. John Frost and Danny O'Connor both picked up harsh bookings and were joined by Anto Murphy before the end.

Keith Barker might have snatched a dramatic winner right at the end but failed to connect with a low cross into the box.

Neither side will be too disheartened with the result although after yesterday's draw in Cork, it represented a great chance for either of the Dublin clubs to improve their title challenges.

Shamrock Rovers : Murphy, G O'Brien, Pender, Lawrence, Ferguson, Danny O'Connor, Cassidy (Amond 69), E McGill (D McGill 63), Tyrell (Dave O'Connor 56), Rowe, Purcell.
St. Patrick's Athletic : Ryan, Brennan, Paisley (Frost 53), Maguire, Rogers, Murphy, Gibson, Keane, Fahey, M Quigley, Guy (Barker 83).

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