St Pat’s joined Sligo Rovers at the top of the Airtricity League table for 24 hours at least following this Dublin derby win at Tolka Park.
Shels pushed Pat’s very hard though, and it wasn’t until the latter stages of the second half that Pat’s superiority shone through with a double from Christy Fagan and a third from Chris Forrester securing the win.
21 points separated these sides at the start of play but that current form was not reflected in the early action which saw basement side Shelbourne match high-flying Pat’s across the park.
Shels started brightly and Graham Gartland did well on the ten minute mark to rise highest in the packed goalmouth and head away a Killian Brennan corner before a Pat’s man could connect, whilst Sean Brennan went close for Shels at the other end on 13 minutes with a rasping shot that went inches wide.
The game quietened down for a spell after that but sprang to life again after the half-hour mark, with Ger O’Brien and Forrester having chances for Pat’s, before Brennan had another chance for Shels on 42 minutes. He was well positioned to the right of Brendan Clarke’s goal but failed to make a good connection with the ball and it spun wildly off target.
Brennan was involved again two minutes into the second half when he picked out Stephen Sheerin with an inch-perfect pass, but Kenny Browne came to Pat’s rescue and nicked the ball off Sheerin.
Pat’s took the lead on 53 minutes when Fagan got his head to Ian Bermingham’s cross and glanced the ball past Ger Hanley in the Shels goal.
Fagan got his second on 59 minutes when he finished from close range after Hanley had blocked Killian Brennan’s flick following a superb cross from John Russell.
Forrester scored Pat’s third on 77 minutes when he headed in from close range from a Brennan corner before Shels were reduced to ten men on 80 minutes when Jack Memery was given a straight red card for a tackle on O’Brien.
Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich Town will play Shelbourne at Tolka Park in a pre-season friendly on Saturday, July 6, with a 5pm kick-off.
Former Republic of Ireland boss McCarthy plans to bring his Championship squad to Ireland for a week’s training at Carton House in Kildare – where he previously brought his Wolves squad – with just the single game following at the weekend.
SHELBOURNE: Hanley; Cornwall, Ryan, Gartland, Memery; Mooney (D Kelly, 71 mins), Sheerin, Flynn, S Brennan, Prizeman (Tinnelly, 78); Leech (Hughes, 60).
ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: Clarke; O’Brien, Browne, Kenna, Bermingham; Forrester (Murphy, 78 mins), Russell, K Brennan, Bolger (McFaul, 83), Byrne (J Kelly, 72) ; Fagan.
Referee: A Buttimer (Cork).
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