Honours even for Dundalk and St Patricks Athletic as yet again another frustrating night for Dundalk with Robbie Benson coming back to haunt the lily whites for the second time to earn a precious point for Stephen O’Donnell’s side as they have the faintest of hopes for a European spot next season.
St Patricks Athletic started the brighter with using their width and pace in the side as Stephen O’Donnell would be fully aware of the exertions of the Dundalk team and how it could be exploited. Daniel Cleary tried his luck from distance but the ball went high and over in what was very windy conditions in Inchicore. Darragh Leahy was next on hand when his cross was sent into the air, the ball was punched away by Brendan Clarke however it fell to Chris Shields whose effort went wide of the mark. Billy King had the first real shot on anger when the forward cut inside onto his favoured left foot in the area and Gary Rogers got down behind the ball to ensure the vital save.
Dundalk opened the scoring when a deep cross from sent into the area and Darragh Leahy slid to keep the ball in play but also to send it in to the direction of Patrick Hoban to slammed it home from close range.
Jordan Gibson had the best chance to equalise when he rounded the keeper and it looked as if he was certain to equalise however the angle was very tight and he struck the side netting. Much to the dismay of the player who did brilliantly to get into that goal-bound advantage. Patrick Hoban had a chance to make it two as he evades the attentions of his marker and let a shot fly but it went wide of the far post of Clarke. St Patricks Athletic had another great chance when Rory Feeley found the ball at his feet from a corner but he flashes his effort wide.
Jordan Gibson had the first attempt on goal in the second half when he had a turn and a shot towards Rogers but Shields was on hand to block the effort. The game nearly had a flashpoint when a clash between Patrick Hoban and Chris Forrester nearly spilled over but the referee was on hand to calm the tension. Both players were booked for the incident which indicated the importance of the half for both sides.
In July Robbie Benson scored a vital equaliser following a Patrick Hoban goal and the same happened again when the former Dundalk man from a throw-in made a dashing run to the near post and his header flashed past Rogers to equalise for the home side.
Dundalk sprung players from the bench to add fresh drive and impetus but St. Patricks maintained their composure. There were chances for either side starting with Dundalk when Mountney sent a ball in from the right but unfortunately, Daniel Cleary got his attempt all wrong.
Chris Forrester lined one up at the other end hoping the wind could cause Rogers issues but it went wide of the mark. David McMillan nearly came back to torment his former employers when he was set up by Hoban but he was denied superbly by Clarke. The last big chance fell to Greg Sloggett looked as if he could snatch a late winner but his effort was blocked brilliantly by Lennon.
However that was the best of the action as a share of the spoils means that Dundalk needs a point or more against Sligo next week to secure third, a loss to Sligo and a win for St Patricks Athletic could see Dundalk not be competing in Europe for the first time since 2013.
Dundalk: Gary Rogers, Sean Hoare, Brian Gartland, Daniel Cleary (Andy Boyle 75), Sean Gannon (John Mountney 67), Chris Shields, Greg Sloggett, Stefan Colovic (Jordan Flores 58), Darragh Leahy (Cameron Dummigan 67), Michael Duffy (David McMillan 75), Patrick Hoban.
Dundalk Subs: Aaron McCarey, Jamie Wynne, David McMillan, Andy Boyle
St Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke, Rory Feely, Luke McNally, Lee Desmond, Ian Bermingham, Chris Forrester, Jamie Lennon, Robbie Benson, Jordan Gibson (James Doona 84), Billy King (Darragh Burns 80), Shane Griffin
Pat’s subs: Conor Kearns, Jason McClelland, David Titov, Paul Cleary, Ben McCormack, Darragh Burns
Booked: Patrick Hoban, Chris Forrester, Jordan Flores, Stephen O’Donnell