Conor Carty strike delivers joy for Jon Daly’s brave 10-man Saints

St Patrick’s Athletic 2, Dundalk 1

Conor Carty of St Patrick's Athletic, second from right, celebrates with team-mates after scoring his side's second goal during the Airtricity League match against Dundalk at Richmond Park. Photo: Tyler Miller/Sportsfile

Daniel McDonnell

Stephen O’Donnell’s return visits to Inchicore are never going to be civil but this raucous occasion, cranked up by a controversial refereeing decision, culminated in St Patrick’s Athletic’s most satisfying win of the season.

The identity of the opposing manager made it all the sweeter but a ten-man side prevailing after playing half the game with a sellotaped together back four is a result to savour.

For new home boss Jon Daly, it was the perfect way to formally kick off his reign, his team overcoming adversity before Conor Carty’s late winner sent the majority of the 4,089 crowd home in jubilant spirits.

The loss of two defenders, Axel Sjoberg and Tom Grivosti, to injury had taken the gloss off a commanding first-half performance from the Saints, especially as the latter looks set for a long spell on the sidelines. Dundalk were pegged back in the opening half hour with assured midfield play from the hosts and pace in wide areas posing problems. Mark Doyle had missed a gilt-edged chance shortly before he fired home from close range with the movement of attacking midfielder Adam Murphy central to both moments,

O’Donnell’s team did spring to life as the interval approached with Patrick Hoban denied by Dean Lyness after getting away from Grivosti. However, the unfortunate postscript was that Grivosti suffered an injury to his right knee.

Daly had to bring Jay McClelland, a midfielder, on at left full and switch Anto Breslin to the other side. O’Donnell delivered a verdict on the opening 45 by making a treble change and the response was instantaneous with Rayhaan Tulloch, one of the newcomers, ghosting into space to nod home Robbie McCourt’s header. Saints’ anxiety turned to anger when Jake Mulraney was sent off by ref Ray Matthews for striking Connor Malley after a scrap that started when the Dundalk midfielder put his hands around the neck of the Saints winger.

Malley was lucky to avoid the early bath, with the Inchicore patrons enraged. Daly utilised his bench as Dundalk huffed and puffed. Just after O’Donnell made an attacking sub, the Saints struck with sub Carty converting a Tommy Lonergan cross from a tight angle to spark a wild celebration.

St Patrick’s Athletic: Lyness, Sjoberg (McGrath 7), Grivosti (McClelland 43), Curtis, Breslin; Lennon; Mulraney, Forrester, Murphy (McCormack 61), M Doyle (Carty 61); E Doyle (Lonergan 61).

Dundalk: Sheppard, Davies, Muller,Williams (Leahy 77), McCourt (Elliott 77); Malley, Doyle (Lewis 45); Martin (Tulloch 45), Yli-Kokko (Ward 45), O’Kane; Hoban.

Ref: R Matthews

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