St Pats draw little comfort in stalemate with Rovers
STILL NO winners in the battle for supremacy in the capital as yet another Dublin derby draw is bad news for the city's clubs and good news for league leaders Dundalk.
A healthy Monday night crowd in Inchicore enjoyed the effort in this 0-0 draw but up the M1 in Co Louth there will have been cheers as these two old rivals cancelled each other out.
Shamrock Rovers have now won just one of their three derby games but there's real concern for the title hopes at St Patrick's Athletic, Liam Buckley's outfit already a worrying 10 points behind Dundalk and with just win from the last four home games, Dundalk will slip further away if the Saints keep sinning like that.
Fans and players from both sides had been forced to wait a few days due to the postponement of Friday's fixture because of an unplayable pitch. And the wait seemed to take the sting out of what had been a much-anticipated evening as last night's game was slow to get into gear, a bit night for Keith Fahey on his return to Inchicore but a night which ended in frustration for the former Saints hero.
The sides spent the first half-hour sizing each other up and it took until the 32nd minute for the first real goal threat.
Christopher Forrester found Conan Byrne out wide and he whipped in a dangerous-looking cross which was just too high for Aaron Greene. Rovers had an instant response as Gavin Brennan did well to create a chance for Mikey Drennan, but the Rovers striker was off-target with his shot.
Drennan threatened again on 36 minutes, this time Luke Byrne the creative force as he outmuscled Forrester and crossed for Drennan, but Lee Desmond, impressive at the back for Pats this season, stood firm.
At the other end, ex-Hoop Ciaran Kilduff was just wide with a header on 37 minutes while Fahey could have given Rovers a half-time lead but his efforts late in the half were not up to his usual high standard.
The Rovers game plan ran into a serious stumbling block early in the second half when midfield maestro Stephen McPhail was forced off with what looked like a foot injury, replaced by Ryan Brennan, who became the third member of that clan to play a part.
On 55 minutes the home side had a genuine chance, as Rovers needed keeper Craig Hyland to be at his best to deny Kilduff, Hyland saving bravely at the feet of the big striker, and Hyland was needed again two minutes later, this time to keep out a threat from Conan Byrne.
Late on the bright May evening was smothered by heavy rainshowers, as energy sapped from the two rials who could not find a breakthrough.
Rovers sprang ex-Saint Danny North from the bench for the closing minutes but the man who scored the only goal of the game when the sides met on the opening day of the season drew a blank while Luke Byrne was also close but off target.
So the crowd of 2,591 - the best attendance of the season so far at Richmond Park - had to settle for an hard-fought draw but more Dublin derby draws will only damage these teams' hope of a league title.
ST PAT'S ATHLETIC 0 SHAMROCK ROVERS 0