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Saints Crowned Airtricity League Champions

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St.Patrick’s Athletic sealed their first league title in 14 years when they beat reigning champions Sligo Rovers 2-0 at Richmond Park this evening.

The Saints following packed into Richmond Park in the hope to see their side  crowned Airtricity League Champions for 2013 and they weren’t to be disappointed.

However, inside the first few minutes it was the visitors who started the better of the two. Nerves must have played a big part within the Saints’ squad. Right back Alan Keane saw his shot fired into the grateful arms of Brendan Clarke while Sligo had a free header inside the box saved.

A moment that no Pats fan really wanted to see so early on.

Sligo Rovers goalkeeper Gary Rogers was nearly left cursing his own luck after his poor kick out led straight to Daryl Kavanagh’s feet but the former Cork City striker scuffed his shot and saw his attempt go wide of the left hand post.

It was a very entertaining start to the game at Richmond Park, no disputing that.

There was wide interest in this game and the stars of Ireland didn’t shy away. Republic of Ireland boss Noel King made it just in time from Irish training to make it while the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins presented us with his presence.

Ger O’Brien was getting a lot of good fortune down the right hand side of the pitch, he cut inside the Sligo Rovers box only to see his shot go high and wide. The Saints were starting to slowly get back into it after a powerful start from the travelling side.

It would take a fantastic finish to open the scoring and we got it within thirty-two minutes as Greg Bolger smashed a shot from thirty-five yards into the top right hand corner. Goalkeeper Gary Rogers could do nothing Bolger’s first league goal of the season. A wonderful strike to fit the occasion.

A fantastic save by Rogers denied former Shamrock Rovers and Bohemians man Killian Brennan the chance to double the Saints’ lead. Sligo were under the pressure an awful lot coming into half time.

However, the Saints did double their lead through Anto Flood shortly after. Midfielder John Russell broke through inside the box and squared it to Saints in-form striker who tapped home into an empty net and seemed to have wrapped up the league title two minutes before half time.

It was a real quiet and un-entertaining start to the second period of the game as St.Pats looked to just soak up the pressure and get the all important three points that would see them win the league title.

Daryl Kavanagh did however have a chance to get on the scoresheet but his shot fired over the right hand corner of Rogers’ goal. Nothing noteworthy had happened.

The atmosphere did however pipe up with twenty minutes remaining as the Saints got ever closer to that worthy prize.

Sligo Rovers did have chances to get back into the game but Saints’ shot-stopper Clarke denied second half sub Anthony Elding.

Clarke almost gifted Sligo a way back into the game with ten minutes to go after a free kick was swung in, the Saints goalkeeper, went out to claim the ball but failed , relying on the ever reliable Bolger to hack the ball off the line to keep the score at 2-0.

St Patrick’s Athletic: Clarke, O’Brien, Bermingham, Kenna (Capt), Browne, Bolger, Brennan, Russell, Byrne, Kavanagh (Forrester) and Flood (Fagan).
Unused subs:  Gilmartin, Price, Gannon, Fitzgerald and Kelly.

Sligo Rovers: Rogers, Keane, Davoren, Peers, McMillan (Lynch), North (Elding), Cawley, Cretaro ( McMillan),Djilali, Ventre and Greene.
Unused subs: Kelly, Millien,Martin and Conneely.

Attendance: 3,211.

Image courtesy of RTE 

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