|Match Report||Sean O'Connor's double strike against Dundalk was enough to earn Saint Patrick's Athletic a crucial three points in their bid to be crowned Airtricity League of Ireland champions.|
Dundalk were looking for their first home win over the Saints in 13 years but their preparation for the game was not helped with the current uncertainty over the ownership of the club.
Lilywhites manager Ian Foster stated during the week that he expected to leave the club at the end of the season and there was an air of uncertainty hanging over the Louth venue.
That seemed to spread to the Dundalk back four, and goalkeeper Peter Cherrie in particular, in the build up to Sean O'Connor's opener after 15 minutes. Cherrie raced from his line to cut out a Derek Pender pass but his clearance was weak and Sean O'Connor hit a first time effort to find the unguarded goal from 35-yards.
If that was a jab for Dundalk, an upper cut landed seconds later when Mark Quigley was shown two yellow cards in the space of seconds by referee Alan Kelly, leaving the home side a goal and a man down before the game had restarted.
Knowing that a win would put them right back into the title mix, Pat's pushed for a second and Paul Crowley forced Cherrie into a good save before O'Connor blazed over from 12-yards after being set up by Danny North.
Crowley and Daryl Kavanagh were also wasteful in the 36th minute, the two getting in each others way to somehow hit the post after being sent clear on goal by Ian Daly's pass.
Dundalk, frustrated by some of Alan Kelly's decisions, put in plenty of effort but their best chance, a complete air shot by Keith Ward, summed up a miserable half from their point of view.
Pete Mahon's side grabbed their second in the 57th minute when O'Connor unleashed a vicious drive past Cherrie at his near post to leave the home fans stunned into silence.
Peter Cherrie; Simon Madden, Cian Byrne, Carl McHugh, Nathan Murphy (Conor McDonald 75); Johnny Breen, Greg Bolger, Keith Ward, Ross Gaynor (Stephen McDonnell 67); Mark Quigley, Jason Byrne (Philip Duffy 88).
St Patrick's Athletic
Gary Rogers; Derek Pender, Conor Kenna, Evan McMillan, Brian Shortall (Jake Carroll 89); Daryl Kavanagh (Derek Doyle 73), Shane McFaul, Paul Crowley, Sean O'Connor; Ian Daly, Daniel North.