St Patrick's Athletic 0-1 Limerick
Rory Gaffney's half-volley five minutes into the second half saw Limerick defeat St Patrick's Athletic 0-1 in the SEE Airtricity League at Richmond Park.
Pat's had been unlucky to go in level at the break after a display of slick passing.
Chris Forrester brought the best out of Barry Ryan and saw a headed effort cleared off the line while Chris Fagan came close with two glancing headers.
Pat's were made rue those missed chances five minutes after the restart.
Rory Gaffney, who deflected Forrester's header off the line, drilled a half volley into the bottom corner for a 1-0 win.
The rain started pelting down in the opening minutes but it had no impact on Liam Buckley's side, who dominated in the opening 10 minutes.
Sam Oji almost gifted Chris Fagan a chance after three minutes but keeper Barry Ryan raced from his line to clear a headed backpass.
But St Pat's crisp, one-touch passing was undone by a poor final ball and poor decision-making on the ball.
Conan Byrne played in Keith Fahey on the right side of the penalty area, but the former Irish international's cut-back was easily cut out eight minutes in.
Limerick, in response, saw a wayward effort from Jack Doherty barley get off the ground before the Saints regained the upper hand.
In the space of three minutes, Pat's had three good chances to take the lead.
First Forrester turned on the right side of the D and saw his effort turned behind by Ryan. From the resulting corner, Forrester saw his header cleared behind by Gaffney on the line and Fagan rounded off a frantic three minutes with a glancing header which Ryan acrobatically tipped over.
It took a half hour before Limerick's first shot on target but Rory Gaffney's effort from the right side of the box was easily saved by Brendan Clarke.
But normal order was quickly restored with Fagan's flick-on, from Killian Brennan's cross from the right, inches wide of the left post.
Pat's saw a back pass gathered by Ryan go unpunished by referee Neil Doyle after Limerick tried to play their way out of trouble again.
Kenny Browne was yellow carded when he went through the back of Kieran Djilali and Doherty followed him with a late tackle shortly after.
The final 15 minutes of the half saw a painful display by both teams; loose passing, long aimless balls and holding onto the ball for too long preventing either side from creating anything of note. The half-time whistle a welcome reprieve.
Gaffney opened the second half firing into the side netting from the left side of the area, but Clarke had his goal covered. It was a warning that Pat's didn't heed as Gaffney riffled the ball into the left-bottom corner from outside the box on 50 minutes.
His attempted flick came back off Conor Kenna and bounced up kindly for Gaffney, whose sweetly struck strike nestled in the bottom corner.
That rocked Pat's, who seemed to lose the fluid passing game they had in the first half. Conan Byrne was played in by Fahey but his low effort saw Ryan at full stretch to deny him.
Pat's saw Killian Brennan's free tipped over by Ryan before Limerick should have put the game beyond doubt.
On the hour, Doherty found himself eight yards from goal to the left of Clarke's goal and should have put the visitors two up. But having seen Clarke commit himself to the far corner his shot to the near side was denied by Clarke's right foot.
A Fagan effort lacked the pace to trouble Ryan before Killian Brennan was furious when his pass towards the onrushing Fagan looked to have been cut out by Folan on 65 minutes.
But that was as close as Pat's came to equalising. Kenny Browne headed wide twice from Byrne corners in the final 15 minutes and headed over at the death from Fahey's free kick.
St Pat's missed a chance to keep pressure on at the top and they will need to be more clinical in front of goal if they are to get a European place.
St Patrick's Athletic: Brendan Clarke, Ger O'Brien (Mark Quigley 80), Derek Foran, Kenny Browne, Ian Bermingham, Conor McCormack, Keith Fahey, Conan Byrne, Killian Brennan (Jack Bayly 88), Chris Forrester (Aaron Greene 72), Chris Fagan.
Limerick: Barry Ryan, Patrick Nzuzi, Sam Oji, Stephen Folan, Robbie Williams, Ian Turner, Shane Duggan, Jason Hughes, Kieran Djilali (Shane O'Connor 80), Jack Doherty (Shane Tracey 75), Rory Gaffney.