Hundreds of disappointed Supersaints left Tolka Park last night feeling hard done by when their side went down 2-1. You have to look back four seasons for a Rovers win in this sparkling Dublin-derby.
In their last twelve league meetings, St Patrick's won six while the other six were drawn.
Last night some dubious decisions and an unlucky Willie Burke own-goal gave Rovers the three points.
A very exciting match started with Rovers running the show.
St Patrick's found it very difficult to deal with Rovers' direct play, and the defence seemed very shaky dealing with Rovers' accurate crosses.
St Pat's did fight back, but when a high Packie Lynch tackle on 24 minutes caught Mark O'Neill on the thigh, referee John McDermott waved the red card, much to Lynch's dismay.
What proceeded should have resulted in a number of bookings as players got involved in an unnecessary tussle, where Tony O'Dowd ran from his goal to the half-way line and then appeared to hit Ian Gilzean in the face.
Neither the referee nor his assistant, who was looking straight at it, took any action and this incensed the away support further.
Throughout the match John McDermott failed to control the game as tackles flew in, and players got involved in tough-looking confrontations.
Rovers' goal came shortly after Lynch's dismissal, when a low ball across the face of the goal was played back in to Mark O'Neill's path and he gladly finished it off.
The Supersaints fought on until half- time, but with only ten men never looked like punishing Rovers.
At half-time Buckley brought on Willie Burke for Gilzean, and he sat into the back four with the wing backs able to push on further to support the hard-working midfield.
Strangely this change forced Rovers to defend more deeply as Trevor 'Billy Boy' Molloy was on outstanding form again.
The Supersaints could have scored a couple in the second half as Hawkins, Russell and Molloy came close on a number of occasions.
The deserved goal came on 57 minutes when Molloy headed home a Russell cross. This kicked off a dominating spell for St Patrick's, where Molloy shot wide after a wonderful turn, and was unlucky when his overhead went narrowly wide of O'Dowd's post.
Rovers fought back and scored a lucky goal when Marc Kenny's cross was missed by Wood and Cousins, and deflected in off the hapless Willie Burke. Rovers defended stoutly for the final 15 minutes as they proved too strong for the ten Supersaints.