Billy King capped his club's player-of-the-month award with a cracking second-half winner to get St Patrick's Athletic back on track as they heaped further anguish on Cork City in their SSE Airtricity League Premier Division clash at Richmond Park.
The victory came as a relief to home boss Stephen O’Donnell as he finally saw his first goal and three points in Inchicore since taking charge at the tail end of last season.
Captain Ian Bermingham was dropped to the bench as St Patrick’s boss O’Donnell made four changes from last week’s defeat at Shelborune, including debuts for left-back Shane Griffin and Dan Ward in midfield.
Though St Pat’s probed encouragingly from the start, they struggled to really trouble Cork’s well-marshalled defence with Joseph Olowu at its hearrt.
The home side’s first opening stemmed from a foray forward by central defender Luke McNally which brought a 13th minute free kick from Henry Ochieng’s foul.
Chris Forrester’s resultant effort had to be tipped over the bar by Mark McNulty.
Without their injured captain Gearoid Morrissey among four changes for the visitors, Cork’s threat was very much on the counter.
And they almost caught St Pat’s napping on 24 minutes. Alec Byrne found Dylan McGlade in some space but the winger mis-kicked his attempted lob which was off target.
Much of the ball remained with St Pat’s, even if they continued to labour in finding openings. Jay McClelland worked a half chance only to rifle his left-footed drive wide across goal.
Martin Rennie, having been fouled Cian Coleman, curled a free kick not far off target on 32 minutes before McNulty was scarcely worked from McClelland’s shot from distance.
The game finally sparked to life 10 minutes into the second half with a delightful contrived and executed goal for St Pat’s.
Midfielder Lee Desmond picked out King’s perfectly timed run in behind the City cover.
The former Scotland under-21 international winger, presented with his gong on the pitch before the game, controlled the ball superbly with his first touch before side-footing confidently past McNulty.
Having worked so hard for their lead, St Pat’s almost gifted Cork an equaliser within two minutes.
Daire O’Connor picked out Cian Coleman in the area with Brendan Clarke having to race off his line to make a good save with his feet.
But normal soon service resumed at the other end. Ward skilfully made space only to drive a shot over the top amd King then arced a superb cross in from the left which saw Rennie plant a header off the crossbar.
The game was delayed for some seven minutes for a nasty injury to Saints' defender Ollie Younger who was taken off on a stretcher to hospital.
Cork then blew their best chance of the match in stoppage time when substitute Reyon Dillon headed over from Charlie Fleming’s cross.
St Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Dean Clarke, Ollie Younger (Jamie Lennon 79), Luke McNally, Shane Griffin (Ian Bermingham 90+6); Dan Ward, Lee Desmond; Jay McClelland (James Doona 85), Chris Forrester, Billy King; Martin Rennie.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Charlie Fleming, Joseph Olowu, Joe Redmond, Ronan Hurley; Daire O’Connor, Alec Byrne, Henry Ochieng (Cory Galvin 78), Cian Coleman, Dylan McGlade (Cian Murphy 90+4); Beineon O’Brien Whitmarsh (Reyon Dillin 70)