Pat’s play out stalemate with Dundalk in Inchicore
Thanks to the heroics of opposition netminder Nathan Shepperd, St Patrick’s Athletic were forced to settle for a scoreless draw with Dundalk in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division at Richmond Park last night.
Searching for their first win in three games, the Saints were also trying to get one over on former boss Stephen O’Donnell as he made his return to Inchicore.
Firhouse native Eoin Doyle had a brace of glorious chances in the second half, but he was spectacularly denied by Shepperd on both occasions.
Six months on from guiding Pat’s towards a FAI Cup crown, O’Donnell arrived back in south Dublin with an unchanged team from the one that defeated UCD seven days earlier.
The Saints were held to a 1-1 home draw by Drogheda United on the same day, but Tim Clancy’s men had much the better of the opening exchanges in this contest.
Darragh Burns and Billy King were marginally off-target from tight angles, while the recalled Ronan Coughlan was also close to breaking the deadlock.
However, the hosts subsequently suffered a blow when midfielder Adam Murphy – making a first league start on his 17th birthday and setting a modern-day club record in the process – was withdrawn through injury and this coincided with Dundalk growing into the game.
Former Saints star Robbie Benson and Patrick Hoban both had headers that just cleared the opposition woodwork and the visitors had reason to feel optimistic heading into the second half.
Yet it was the Saints who displayed the greater attacking intent on the resumption with Republic of Ireland U21 international Burns proving particularly threatening down the right-flank.
His lofted ball into the box on 63 minutes was met powerfully by the head of Eoin Doyle, but Dundalk netminder Shepperd superbly tipped his effort over the crossbar.
Moving into the final-quarter, Shepperd once again thwarted Doyle with another spectacular close-range stop off a Burns delivery.
While Pat’s continued to apply pressure inside the final-third, a winning goal didn’t materialise and they remain third in the top-flight table as a result.