Saints and Students end level in Inchicore

Monday 6th August 2007, 9:59 pm

Alan Kirby, St. Patrick's Athletic.

Alan Kirby, St. Patrick's Athletic.

Photo by Tom Carey.

6th August 2007

eircom League of Ireland Premier Division

St. Patrick's Athletic 1

Alan Kirby 67

UCD 1

Derek Doyle 26

Richmond Park

Live on Setanta Sports

Saint Patrick's Athletic fought back to draw in their Premier Division encounter with UCD at Richmond Park tonight. The result leaves the Saints five points adrift of League of Ireland leaders Drogheda United having played a game more than the County Louth side.

Derek Doyle had put the Students ahead after 26 minutes following a superb College break through the middle.

A toothless looking Saints side didn't create much until around the hour mark when they stepped up their game and Alan Kirby got slightly lucky before slotting home his eighth goal of the year to make it 1-1.

Anthony Murphy and Ryan Guy both had shots blocked in the early going of what proved to be a poor first half. UCD's goal though lit up proceedings as Conor Sammon laid off to Brian King who in turn slotted in a superb through ball to Doyle. The UCD man made no mistake with an excellent finish past the advancing Barry Ryan on 26 minutes.

Before the break Guy had an optimistic shout for a penalty after going down under a challenge from Alan McNally and Keith Fahey dragged a shot just wide from debutant Glen Fitzpatrick's lay off.

Murphy volleyed just past Darren Quigley's goal as half-time arrived with the Students still ahead.

The Saints title hopes were already in jeopardy before the game kicked off and a win was a must against a side such as UCD who have been struggling recently.

UCD though started better in the second half and Tony McDonnell headed just inches wide of the Pats goal from Alan Mahon's 47th minute corner kick. Shane Fitzgerald pounced on a poor cross-field ball from Billy Gibson before running on and seeing his cross just cut out by the lunging leg of Darragh Maguire.

Guy had a shot blocked in a crowded area but would soon be replaced by the Saints top scorer Mark Quigley who had surprisingly been axed for tonight's game.

A low driven shot from Brian King had Ryan scrambling across the greasy surface as the ball squirmed behind for a corner. From the resulting corner, Doyle had his shot blocked on the line by Stephen Brennan and McNally's shot was crowded out as the home goal survived.

The Saints equaliser came on 67 minutes when Kirby eventually poked the ball home after initially mis-controlling Brennan's through ball and getting a fortunate ricochet back off Kenna.

McDonnell and Fahey were both forced off after a nasty clash of heads on 71 minutes and both sides kept up the pressure in search of a winner. UCD went close from another corner kick. Ian Bermingham's shot from outside the box was helped on by King with Ryan thankful the ball didn't take another touch before landing safely in his hands.

Sammon threatened in the closing ten minutes but Ryan was again equal to the diving header on his goal-line.

Mark Quigley forced a save from namesake Darren when he drilled in a low shot from the edge of the box. The Irish under-21 and B international keeper made a superb save two minutes from the end as he pushed away Murphy's point blank header from a John Frost corner kick.

Peter Hynes had just earlier been denied by the brave dive of Ryan to cut out his run at goal from Sammon's cross. Mark Quigley had the last chance of the game but couldn't muster a decent shot after beating most of the UCD defence at least once.

Pats failure to win tonight means that Friday's visit to face Drogheda United could decide whether their title challenge ends or not. Meanwhile, UCD will be relieved to have taken some of the pressure off themselves with four points from their last couple of games.

St. Patrick's Athletic : Ryan, Brennan (O'Connor 68), Frost, Rogers, Maguire, Gibson, Kirby, Fahey (Macek 74), Murphy, Fitzpatrick, Guy (Quigley 61).
UCD : Quigley, Mahon, Bermingham, Kenna, McNally, McDonnell (Shortall 74), Fitzgerald, Finn (Hynes 82), King, Doyle (C Byrne 62), Sammon.

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