Mahon turns focus to Europe after Pat’s draw

DEREK DOYLE, their match-winner in Europe last week, maintained his scoring flush with a well-taken double, but it wasn’t enough as St Pat’s failed to get the win required to regain the leadership of the Premier Division yesterday.

Boss Pete Mahon now turns his focus to Thursday’s Europa League fixture with Shakhter Karagandy in Kazakhstan which will entail a potential 24 hours of travel.

To add to his problems, injuries will deprive Mahon of top scorer Danny North (hamstring) and midfielder Dave Mulcahy (knee), neither of whom will make the 10,000-kilometre round trip while three others players have had to pay colleagues to cover for them in their day jobs.

“The amount of fixtures we’re playing, not having time really for good recovery, it’s starting to take its toll on us now,’’ said Mahon.

“We’ve flights booked, but they’re not ideal,” added Mahon as arrangements to get to Kazakhstan won’t be finalised until today. “But we’re hoping we might get a bit of luck (this) morning and charter a plane from Amsterdam. It’s either charter Dublin-Amsterdam-Astana or... a camel trek,’’ joked Mahon. “I’m just going to say my prayers tonight that that charter comes through for us.”

In a cracking match yesterday, St Pat’s grabbed the lead on 11 minutes.

Paul Crowley shot against Peter Cherrie’s right-hand post from 25 yards with the rebound being put out for a corner. Daryl Kavanagh whipped over the flag kick, and captain for the afternoon, Evan McMillan, got the faintest of flicks for Doyle to confidently volley to the net.

Dundalk levelled on 33 minutes. St Pat’s were short in midfield as Crowley was off receiving treatment for a facial cut, when full back Stephen Maher overlapped down the right to pull a superb cross back for Griffin to drill home from 10 yards.

Dundalk took the initiative from the start of the second half to find the lead within five minutes.

Rogers initially made an acrobatic tip over from Mark Quigley’s 20-yard curler. The defending from Ross Gaynor’s resultant corner was poor as Griffin headed goalward with midfielder Keith Ward claiming the final touch to force the ball over the line.

St Pat’s responded well and were level on the hour. Kavanagh found space on the right to put over a super cross to the back post where Doyle scored with a perfect downward header.

Cherrie deprived Doyle of his hat-trick on 73 minutes, getting down to his right to parry away the winger’s stinging shot on the turn.

On Saturday, Sligo Rovers went top thanks to a 2-0 defeat of Drogheda at the Showgrounds with goals from Matthew Blinkhorn and Eoin Doyle.

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: Rogers; Pender, E. McMillan, Guthrie, Bermingham; Murphy, McFaul, Crowley (Stewart, 80 mins), Doyle; Kavanagh, Daly (D. McMillan, 63 mins).

DUNDALK: Cherrie; Maher, Madden, Bennett, Murphy; Kearns, Ward, Bolger, Gaynor; Quigley, Griffin (Breen, 83 mins).

Referee: Richie Winter (Wicklow).

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