Sunday 9 December 2018

Byrne's strike is enough for Saints

SAINT Patrick's Athletic hope that their Dublin-based path in the FAI Cup can carry on this season after they moved into the last eight of the competition.

Having beaten non-league Dublin side St Pats CY at the first hurdle, Liam Buckley's men have now overcome local rivals Shelbourne 1-0 and will face into a Dublin derby, at home to Bohemians, in the quarter-finals so can make it as far as the last four without going beyond the Pale.

A small crowd at Tolka Park last night - the game was refixed from the previous week due to a floodlight failure - witnessed a game which never really caught fire, as Pat's just about did enough to progress.

It wasn't all one-way traffic and Pat's almost fell behind early on, needing a double save from Brendan Clarke to deny Dylan Connolly and then Conor Murphy in the seventh minute,

Pats tried to move up a gear and threatened with efforts from Sean Hoare and Mark Quigley, both off-target, while Conan Byrne should have done better after he was set up by Keith Fahey on 38 minutes.

But a minute before half time Pat's got the breakthrough, as Conan Byrne managed to scramble the ball over the line, pouncing on the rebound after Greg Murray saved a Killian Brennan free.

It was almost 2-0 five minutes into the second half when a cheeky effort by Christopher Forrester was tipped around the post by Murray, though Shels had an instant response with a fine strike by U19 cap Dylan Connolly.

Forrester went close again on 57 minutes, while Shels defender John Sullivan should have at least hit the target with a free header on 71 minutes.

Shels threw on attack-minded players Alan O'Sullivan, Gareth Coughlan and Lee Murtagh, former Aberdeen man O'Sullivan a real threat as he scored by scoring for the Reds in the dawn game at Richmond Park.

But a tight Pat's defence, protected by Keith Fahey, gave them no space to ceate anything and Shels duly exited the Cup, their focus now on the Division One campaign.

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