A late Mark Doyle header made sure that St Patrick’s Athletic kept up with the pace at the top of the table by giving the team a 1-0 win over Cork City at Turner’s Cross.
That came from a Jamie Lennon cross sent in at the 79th minute during a period that seemed like the home side had adapted to the dismissal of John O’Donovan earlier in the half.
While the spectre that haunted the game was an upcoming FAI Cup semi-final between these two clubs – City were focused on just getting a result after a week that saw back-to-back losses and Richie Holland take over as head coach.
The team were set up in a 4-4-2 formation and the wide players exploited space at the back; and that allowed Ruairi Keating to shoot inside the area with less than a minute on the clock.
Nothing came out of this; just like when a cross was dropped at the feet of Cian Murphy. It was two quick-fire moments that seemed to show a new level of intensity in the home side’s play.
The best thing that St Pat's put together was from a free-kick and Ollie Byrne punched this away.
City continued to get forward and create chances in the final third, but none of these caused any fuss to an organised Saints’ back-line that was marshalled by Joe Redmond.
The first time the defender was called into action was to cover Jamie Lennon and the pair worked together to force Keating into a hasty shot that went out for a goal-kick.
The Saints were left without a shot on target in the first half, and that pattern continued after the break.
A Lennon chance summed up their night as he messed up his first touch on the edge of the area and that allowed Murphy to break.
Fortunately for St Pat's – the striker’s first touch let him down in a two against one situation and that allowed the Dubliners to get the ball back.
Just as City began to establish some sense of dominance in the fixture, O’Donovan was sent off after he received a second yellow card.
The space that opened up allowed St Pat's to get their first shot on target; and Chris Forrester had to watch as Byrne got to this.
They clinched the points with Lennon’s cross that Doyle headed in at the near post in the 78th minute.
There was a late push for an equaliser by the home side but this was in vain as St Pat's hung on to get the result.
Cork City: Ollie Byrne; Cian Coleman, Aaron Bolger, Ruairi Keating, Cian Bargary, Ben Worman (Conor Drinan 61), John Donovan, Andrii Kravchuk (Joe O’Brien Whitmarsh 79), Cian Murphy, Jonas Häkkinen.
St Patrick’s Athletic: Anthony Breslin, Joe Redmond, Jamie Lennon, Chris Forrester, Thomas Lonergan (Jay McGrath 82), Jason McClelland (Conor Carty 68), David Norman, Mark Doyle, Kian Leavy (Ben McCormack 78), Adam Murphy (Alex Nolan 78).
Referee: Oliver Moran