St Patrick's Athletic have been installed as the eircom Premier Division's new leaders after having their nine deducted points restored following a meeting of the League's Arbitration Panel this afternoon. The Saints were docked nine points earlier this season after playing summer signing Paul Marney, who had been incorrectly registered, in three league victories. However, they have now had all nine points restored and assume control at the top of the Premier Division, two points clear of former leaders Shelbourne.

Kilkenny City chairman Liam Reidy, the chairman of the Arbitration Panel, revealed the decision was taken following intensive examination of the factors involved. Pat's were hit with a €1,250 fine for their oversight, but nonetheless manager Pat Dolan and club President Tim O'Flaherty were delighted with the decision.

Dolan was understandably relieved with the decision, and he is now looking forward to forgetting about this controversy and concentrating on footballing matters once more. He admitted: "The players have worked really hard and as I've said before we been the innocent parties in this. We've tried very hard to win football matches and we've got to go away now and consider the verdict, because it has been a tough time and it is nice to get that decision today. The president has spoken on behalf of the club to let people know what our feelings are and hopefully we can get back to football matters again."

Filed by Shane Murray