Byrne inspires Saints in rout of Bohs
Bohemians 0 St Pat's 4
Conan Byrne has waited a long time to score his 100th league goal, and his first-ever goal at Dalymount Park.
The veteran managed both feats last night but even the 31-year-old couldn't have predicted the audacious manner of the first of two goals he claimed, or even the facile nature of his side's Dublin derby win against an off-colour Bohemians side.
For Pat's, what matters most is that their season is now very much back on track after a dismal start to the season, and with back-to-back wins in Dublin derbies, the Saints are moving up the table - they had been rock bottom only two weeks ago - while also gaining bragging rights over their local rivals.
Liam Buckley's side had been humiliated with a 5-1 loss on their most recent visit to Dalymount Park but they managed to inflict similarly-painful scars on the opposition last night with a comfortable 4-0 win against a Bohs side which was defensively all at sea for long spells, the bare nature of the Gypsies squad underlined by this heavy loss.
Pat's led 2-0 at the break, added a third shortly after the restart and ex-Bohs man Kurtis Byrne twisted the knife in with another goal, another soft one, in injury time.
But it was the second of those four Saints strikes which stood out as it allowed Byrne reach the 100-goal mark, one of only a handful of current players to score that many in the league.
It also stood out, for other reasons, as Byrne somehow managed to strike the ball from inside his own half and catch Bohs keeper Shane Supple off his line and off his guard.
It was a goal which Byrne and Saints fans will be happy to watch again and again on a YouTube loop but which will cause misery for Supple, who was substituted due to injury with 20 minutes to go.
With three senior players already missing with medium-to-long-term injuries, Bohs could not afford any more medical problems but with less than five minutes gone they had one as Jamie Doyle was stretchered off after he went for the ball with opponent Michael Barker.
Teenager Dean Casey came off the bench to replace Doyle but it was men against boys for most of the night. Ex-Bohs man Christy Fagan came up with a calm finish to put Pat's ahead, in front of their fans in the Shed end, on 36 minutes and two minutes from the break, Byrne conjured up that stunning long-range strike.
Bohs looked to be asleep when Byrne pounced on an error by Lorcan Fitzgerald a minute into the second half to make it 3-0, the agony for Bohs compounded when Supple had to be replaced as Greg Murray came on for his first appearance in his second spell at the club.
Not conceding any more goals and limiting the damage was now the target for the home side but Byrne, another former Gypsy, was given time and space in the box to fire past Murray for his second goal in two games, in a season which now looks a lot brighter from an Inchicore viewpoint.