A goal from substitute Shane McFaul was enough to give Liam Buckley's side victory over Drogheda in a tight opening game
St Patrick's Atheltic were given the opportunity to get revenge against the team that pipped them to second place in the league last season and took it with both hands, making sure Drogheda left Richmond park empty-handed thanks to a second-half Shane McFaul goal.
The teams went in even at the break and it was probably a fair reflection of the first half's proceedings but it was Pat's who initially dominated. The Saints were neat in possession and carved out a number of chances but none clear-cut enough to take the lead. Chris Forrester nodded the ball onto the outside of the Drogheda post in the opening 10 minutes beforeKenny Browne's header looped over Gabriel Sava in the Drogheda goal. However the effort was ruled out for offside.
Despite their best chances being headers, Pat's were putting Drogheda on the back foot with neat passing on the ground, with Forrester and Killian Brennan, in particular, making flashy touches throughout. As the half wore on, Drogheda grew into the game and began carving out chances of their own, troubling mainly from set-pieces with the likes of Derek Prendergast a considerable aerial threat. It was a physical display from Drogs with Gary O'Neill putting in a robust effort. In fact, he was booked early on for elbowing Greg Bolger in an aerial duel.
The second half began as a scrappy affair but St Pat's again took hold of the game, getting a stranglehold on possession. Christy Fagan was put through on goal midway through the second half and had his low shot pushed around the post by Sava. From the resulting corner the Italian goalkeeper parried a header straight into the path of substitute Shane McFaul who didn't need a second invitation to score.Their lead was rarely troubled but the Saints held out for a nervy 25 minutes or so to claim an opening day victory in a game where goalscoring opportunities were few and far between. St Pat's head to Tallaght next week to face Shamrock Rovers knowing that a win over the team that pipped them to second place is perfect preparation for that derby. Drogheda, meanwhile, will hope to bounce back when they welcome Limerick to the Hunky Dorys Stadium.