Chris Forrester rolled back the years with a stunning long-range strike to help St Patrick's Athletic to a comfortable 2-0 victory over city rivals Shelbourne at Richmond Park.

A thumping header from Rory Feely early in the second half sealed a vital win for Stephen O’Donnell’s side, who move level with Sligo Rovers in fifth, seven points clear of danger.

The result was a touch harsh on a Shelbourne side who were competitive throughout but who must now be glancing anxiously at Finn Harps and Cork City, who face off in Ballybofey tomorrow.

Shels had the better of a tight opening few minutes as Dayle Rooney was denied by a terrific Lee Desmond tackle before Sean Quinn’s header forced Brendan Clarke into a save.

The Saints soon began to create opportunities of their own, and Jason McClelland had skied one effort before Forrester opened the scoring in dramatic style.

The midfielder (27) compiled a highlight reel as long as his leg filled with spectacular goals during his first spell with the club and his 17th-minute opener would more than hold its own within.

A quick throw from Jason McClelland put the former international call-up into space. He took a step, opened his body and unleashed a wonder-strike that sailed into the top corner from 20 yards.

Shelbourne continued to compete, however, and a fine solo run from the fleet-footed Denzil Fernandes could have yielded more, but Clarke was out quickly to block his path.

Forrester put another shot from distance over the bar on the stroke of half time, as did Georgie Kelly soon after the resumption.

Captain Robbie Benson was the next to see sight of goal but a heavy touch saw the space soon shut down by Georgie Poynton and out for a corner.

That proved a fortunate moment as Benson planted the set-piece on the head of Feely, the right-back beating Dan Byrne at the near post and powering a header home.

Kelly should have made it 3-0 moments later as Oscar Brennan miscontrolled a long punt from Clarke, but the on-loan striker couldn’t beat Colin McCabe.

The Athletic closed out the game comfortably, however, and there was even time for O’Donnell to introduce highly-rated 16-year-old Ben McCormack late on for his league debut.

St. Patrick's Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Rory Feely, Luke McNally, Lee Desmond, Shane Griffin; Chris Forrester, Darragh Markey (Ben McCormack 76), Robbie Benson; Jason McClelland (Darragh Burns 65), Jordan Gibson, Georgie Kelly (Martin Rennie 76).

Shelbourne: Colin McCabe; Georgie Poynton, Dan Byrne, Oscar Brennan, Alex O'Hanlon; Gary Deegan, Sean Quinn, Mark Byrne; Denzil Fernandes (Jaze Kabia 46), Dayle Rooney (Shane Farrell 65), Aaron Dobbs (Ciaran Kilduff 65).

Referee: Rob Hennessy