A late equaliser from Pat Flynn increased the pressure on Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Kenny at Tallaght on Sunday afternoon. Flynn's goal ensured that Saint Patricks Athletic drew 1-1 at the home of the champions.
After an eventful opening to the game in Tallaght, Pats came close to scoring in the 9th minute. Jake Kelly curled in a free kick from the right which Dean Kelly met at the back post but he could only steer his effort wide.
Their best chance of the opening period came in the 13th minute. Both Kelly's played an excellent one-two on the right for the visitors before Dean Kelly's cross picked out recent signing Anto Flood. Flood's header looked destined for the corner of the net but Oscar Jansson dived low to his left and produced a stunning save.
Shamrock Rovers had their first real chance in the 29th minute. Killian Brennan took a free kick from a central position. Gary Twigg challenged for the ball in the air before it broke to Craig Sives six yards out. Sives hit it first time on the half volley but his effort was too high.
Soon after Rovers had another chance. Billy Dennehy's free kick from the left was met by the head of Ken Oman. This time Pats goalkeeper Brendan Clarke dived low to his right deny the home team's captain.
Dennehy missed Rovers best chance of the half in the 41st minute. James Chambers gave the ball straight to the Hoops substitute before Dennehy beat Conor Kenna and struck a shot at goal that was straight at Clarke.
In the 53rd minute Flood came close again for Pats. After John Russell won the ball off Conor McCormack the former Bohemians striker curled a right foot shot from the left which beat Jansson but just went past the post.
However Rovers had most of the play in the second half and they took the lead in the 71st minute. Billy Dennehy took a free kick from the right and Craig Sives with his back to goal flicked it on and the ball made its way into the top corner of the visitors net past a stranded Clarke. Rovers had consistently threatened from set pieces throughout and it was no surprise that this was the route that led to their goal.
Gary Twigg had a couple of chances in a minute to wrap it up for Rovers late on. In the 86th minute he met Sive's flick on but headed straight at Clarke and just a minute later the Scot was through on goal but once again the Pats keeper was there to knock his shot away for a corner.
Twigg was made to rue those missed chances in the 90th minute. Saint Pat's John Russell played a sublime cross from the left hand side that picked out right back Pat Flynn. Flynn controlled the ball first time and hit a sublime volley into the corner of the net past Jansson. Once again Stephen Kenny's side were undone by a late goal at home this season.
The game ended just a couple of minutes later and Stephen Kenny looked dejected after the final whistle blew. In contrast Pats manager Liam Buckley looked pretty pleased to have taken a point. Rovers created most of the chances but Pats once again showed the benefit of never giving up.
Shamrock Rovers: Oscar Jansson; Conor McCormack, Craig Sives, Ken Oman (c), Conor Powell; Gary McCabe (Gary O'Neill 90), Stephen Rice, Ronan Finn (Chris Turner 83), Killian Brennan, Aaron Greene (Billy Dennehy 22); Gary Twigg.
Subs not used: Reyaad Pieterse, Daryl Kavanagh, Colin Hawkins, Kerrea Gilbert.
Booked: Rice (10), Twigg (38), K Brennan (39), Dennehy (84), Sives (87),
St Patrick's Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Pat Flynn, Conor Kenna (captain), Kenny Browne, Jake Carroll; John Russell, James Chambers, Greg Bolger, Jake Kelly (Darren Meenan 63), Dean Kelly (Sean O'Connor 63); Anthony Flood.
Subs not used: Ian Bermingham, Aidan Price, Barry Murphy, Ryan Coombes, Eoin Hyland.
Booked: Kenna (31), Flood (76).
Referee: Paul Tuite.
Attendance: 3,500 estimate.
Extratime.ie man of the match: Brendan Clarke (Saint Patricks Athletic).