Shamrock Rovers earned their first Airtricity Premier Division win under Trevor Croly with a 3-0 success over St Patrick's Athletic at Tallaght Stadium.

Ciaran Kilduff opened the scoring on 20 minutes with a simple header from a Ronan Finn cross after poor Pat's defending.

Rovers doubled their lead just after the break when Gary McCabe's shot swerved past Brendan Clarke in the Saints' goal.

And with Pat's pressing to get back in the game, Finn made certain of all three points with seven minutes remaining.

Rovers started much the sharper and deserved the lead when Kilduff put them ahead.

Finn capitalised on a mix-up in the Pat’s defence and stood up a cross for Kilduff, who made no mistake with his header from six yards.

Earlier, Rovers full-back Conor Powell had demonstrated the home side’s intent when he latched on to a loose ball just outside the Pat’s box and shot just wide, leaving keeper Clarke stretching.

The first goal did seem to get the visitors to wake up somewhat and as the half drew to a close, they began to look like they might make it a difficult evening for Trevor Croly’s side.

At only one goal down at half-time, Saints boss Liam Buckley must have been hopeful that his side could get back into the game in the second half.

That hope was shattered with less than one minute gone in the second period.

Conor Kenna looked to have dealt with Finn’s cross form the right hand side, but his defensive header fell to Gary McCabe who sent a rasping effort goalward.

Saints keeper Clarke may feel he could have done better, seeing the ball go above his arms and into the net.

Buckley rolled the dice, making three second-half substitutions in an attempt to salvage something, but to no avail.

As St Pat’s put Rovers under pressure with some uncharacteristic route-one football, the home side sat back and soaked it up.

Barry Murphy was called into action on 81 minutes, saving Conor Kenna’s diving header, but two minutes later, Rovers broke from deep.

McCabe surged through the middle of the park before putting the easiest of chances on a plate for Finn, who scored the goal which his performance deserved.

So three goals and all three points for Shamrock Rovers in their first home league game of the season and one up for new Hoops’ manager Trevor Croly over his former colleague Buckley.

Shamrock Rovers: Barry Murphy, Pat Sullivan, Derek Foran, Jason McGuinness, Conor Powell, James Chambers (Conor McCormack 71), Shane Robinson, Ronan Finn, Sean O'Connor (Tommy Stewart 66), Gary McCabe, Ciarán Kilduff (Billy Dennehy 85)

St. Patrick's Athletic: Brendan Clarke, Ger O'Brien, Ian Bermingham, Conor Kenna, Kenny Browne, Shane McFaul, Killian Brennan, John Russell (Greg Bolger 61), Conan Byrne (Jake Carroll 71), Chris Forrester (Conor Murphy 52), Christy Fagan

Referee: Paul Tuite