Saint Patrick’s Athletic blew Limerick away in the opening quarter-hour of the second half as they fought back to win 3-1 at Richmond Park on Friday night, after an impressive first-half display from Martin Russell’s side.
Limerick had started well and after Paul O’Conor went within inches of giving them the lead Dean Clarke broke the deadlock just past the midway point of the half.
Chris Forrester’s deflected strike rattled the crossbar soon after, as the Shannonsiders deservedly held onto their lead at the break.
However, St. Pat’s stunned their opponents after the interval as they found three quick goals through Forrester, Aaron Greene and Christy Fagan, with further chances to add to that scoreline as Limerick struggled to recover.
Russell made two changes to the team that lined out in the defeat by Drogheda United seven days earlier as Aidan Price and Ian Turner came back in to replace Tony Whitehead and Kieran Hanlon.
The home side also made two switches, from their win over Bohemians on Tuesday night, as Jason McGuinness and Lee Desmond were selected ahead of Ian Bermingham and Kenny Browne.
Limerick started confidently and – after Forrester’s shot was comfortable for Conor O’Donnell – the Shannonsiders went close on 11 minutes. A nice passing move eventually opened up space for O’Conor to shoot from distance and he whistled the ball just past the top corner.
The game had few chances in the opening exchanges, with O’Donnell pushing a Killian Brennan corner clear and Seán Russell curling a free-kick over the bar from a promising position.
But then Limerick hit the front. Tracy did well to win possession back in the corner and picked out Russell in the box, the midfielder turning smartly and putting in a low cross which was clinically fired to the net by Clarke.
St. Pat’s almost replied on the half-hour when Forrester’s shot from 20-yards took a wicked deflection off Tracy and looped over O’Donnell before crashing back off the crossbar.
On 37 minutes, Desmond’s low cross from the left went right across goal with no Saints player able to connect in the six-yard box. Then Forrester sent an effort well wide from inside the area.
Before half-time, Clarke was gifted possession deep in the home half and drove towards goal, passing his man and sending a strike that his namesake Brendan held.
On 49 minutes, Turner did well down the right and after his cross was missed by Rainsford, the ball fell to Tracy who fired over.
But seconds later, St. Pat’s were level when Forrester was picked out in acres of space on the right of the area and he remained cool to bring the ball past O’Donnell before drilling in.
On 53 minutes, the hosts should have been ahead when Greene’s cross was flicked on by substitute Conor McCormack to Fagan but from close range he was brilliantly denied by O’Donnell.
But Liam Buckley’s side did not have to wait long for a second as Greene drilled a powerful shot to the bottom corner from the edge of the box, and a third was soon added as Fagan fired in from 12-yards.
St. Pat’s could have had more, with Greene hitting the post before he turned creator for Fagan who controlled well but his strike was well stopped by O’Donnell.
Late on, Limerick pushed for a way back into the game but they could not find it as their wait for a first win of the season continues.
Saint Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke, Ger O’Brien ©, Jason McGuinness, Seán Hoare, Lee Desmond, Greg Bolger, James Chambers (Morgan Langley 77), Chris Forrester (Jamie McGrath 84), Killian Brennan (Conor McCormack HT), Aaron Greene, Christy Fagan. Goals: C Forrester (50), A Greene (54), C Fagan (58). Booked: S Hoare (20). Unused Subs: Conor O’Malley (GK), Ian Bermingham, Ciarán Kilduff, Kenny Browne.
Limerick: Conor O’Donnell, Jason Hughes (Tony Whitehead 77), Aidan Price, Robbie Williams, Shane Tracy, Shane Duggan ©, Paul O’Conor, Ian Turner, Seán Russell, Darragh Rainsford (Vinny Faherty 63), Dean Clarke (Ross Mann 84). Goal: D Clarke (24). Booked: S Duggan (56), R Mann (89). Unused Subs: Tommy Holland (GK), Shane Costelloe, Val Feeney, Kieran Hanlon.
Referee: Alan Mario Sant (Malta). Attendance: 1,123 (Official).
Report Date: Friday 12 June 2015