A brilliant double save from a second-half penalty by Chris Bennion denied St Patrick’s top spot in the Airtricity Premier Division on a night of high drama by the Camac.
Dean Kelly was hero and villain for St Pat’s, equalising Monaghan’s early lead before being sent off before half-time.
The drama continued into the second half, with former Saint Bennion saving Stephen O’Flynn’s 67th minute penalty after Conor McMahon pushed over substitute Jake Kelly. Bennion then bravely spread himself to also parry away Chris Forrester’s follow-up.
Despite being down to 10 men, St Patrick’s remained the better side and Forrester cracked a stunning right-foot shot off Bennion’s left-hand post seven minutes later while John Russell curled a shot just off target in stoppage time.
Bennion still had time to further excel when saving at full stretch from Ian Daly before the whistle went.
As they did on their trip to the capital last week, Monaghan started brightly and once again took a third minute lead, punishing some loose defending.
Danny McGuinness whipped over a cross from the right and Conor Murphy’s flick seemed to catch home keeper Brendan Clarke by surprise, with the shot squirming first through his hands and then between his legs.
But St. Patrick’s powered back, forcing three corners before equalising on 14 minutes.
Dean Kelly, who scored on his debut on the opening night against Bray, further endeared himself to the home faithful when looping a shot over Bennion from the edge of the area.
Minutes later Kelly rattled the Monaghan crossbar with a direct free-kick from 25 yards.
But Kelly’s night took a wicked twist on 41 minutes as he was shown a straight red card for diving in with his studs showing on Stephen Maher after overrunning the ball.
ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: Clarke; O’Brien, Kenna, Browne, Bermingham; Russell, Chambers (J. Kelly, 66 mins.), Bolger; Forrester (Meenan, 82 mins.), D. Kelly, O’Flynn (Daly, 78 mins.).
MONAGHAN UNITED: Bennion; McDonagh, Byrne, McMahon; McGuinness (Isichei, 63 mins.), Bayly, Maher, Quinn, Marks (Griffiths, 52 mins.); Murphy (Humphrey, 73 mins.), Keegan.
Referee: Tomas Connolly (Dublin).
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