St Patrick’s Athletic 2 Sligo Rovers 0
A goal in either half from Matty Smith and Rónán Coughlan saw St Patrick’s Athletic ease to victory at home to Sligo Rovers and move above the Bit o’ Red into second place.
The duo capped off a fine performance as 200 fans returned to Richmond Park for the first time this year.
Smith gave the home side the lead after six minutes, while former Sligo striker Coughlan sealed the win from the penalty spot late on.
It was a doubly bitter pill for former Saints boss Liam Buckley to swallow as he saw his side succumb to a second successive defeat to fall three points behind league leaders Shamrock Rovers.
The buzz of the crowd was evident from the first whistle and Stephen O’Donnell’s men responded with that early goal.
A poor touch from ex-Saint Jordan Gibson allowed Robbie Benson hook the ball to Coughlan and, though John Mahon headed away, Smith was on hand to pass the ball into the bottom corner.
With Rovers falling behind to an early goal in Waterford, Pat’s briefly topped the table, though a turnaround at the RSC leaves them three points off the summit.
The visitors were more adventurous after the break but they were restricted to long-range efforts, with neither Mark Byrne nor Gibson calling Liverpool loanee Vitezslav Jaros into a save.
And the Saints wrapped up a deserved win as Smith robbed Lewis Banks and drove into the box before being taken down by Mahon.
Coughlan faced down former teammate McGinty and sent the Ireland Under-21 keeper the wrong way.
ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: Vitezslav Jaros; John Mountney, Paddy Barrett, Lee Desmond, Ian Bermingham; Alfie Lewis, Chris Forrester (Jamie Lennon 69), Robbie Benson; Billy King (Darragh Burns 62), Matty Smith (Jay McClelland 88), Rónán Coughlan.
SLIGO ROVERS: Ed McGinty; Colm Horgan, John Mahon, Lewis Banks (Danny Kane 83), Robbie McCourt (Regan Donelon 45+1); Greg Bolger, Niall Morahan (Johnny Kenny 83), Walter Figueira (David Cawley 66); Mark Byrne (Shane Blaney 83), Jordan Gibson, Romeo Parkes.
Referee: Paul McLaughlin (Donegal).