Diary of a Saint

Our man in the stands, St Pat’s super fan Peter Reilly on the ecstasy, agony and the eery nature of last Friday’s huge derby in Inchicore

One might have left Emmet Road on Saturday thinking why we do it to ourselves – heartbreak. The week’s build up had been one of nerves and excitement, all the way up to what turned out to be a glorious evening across Dublin. This time, though: no trip to the Clock; no Luas to Goldenbridge;  no walk across St Michael’s Estate. Instead, a solitary cycle to Richmond Park from where my own love affair with Pat’s started, Harold’s Cross Greyhound track.

Arriving at the stadium was equally different, eerily quiet compared to any previous visit of those from multiple post codes. Inside though, despite the absence of pyros and chants, there was definitely a big match feel. 

A little tweak to the Saints line-up worked wonders. Ripping into tackles and bringing an aggression Rovers couldn’t handle, ahead within five minutes. With Forrester on the left, a cross fell onto his right foot – the result inevitable.

Rovers responded well. The Saints matched it with tenacity. It was nervy in the stands, and for large parts, we couldn’t get out. What was lacking on the field was made up for in heart, epitomised by Jamie Lennon. Just as you’re thinking, “we could do with half time”, we were pegged back. It was probably deserved. While the first 15 minutes flew by, the 30 after that dragged. By the time half-time came, it was fairly welcome and, honestly, I feared a little bit for the 45 to come.

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Like many others, I probably underestimated the progress this Saints team has made. For large parts of the second half, we were dominant. Winning the ball back quickly, using it cleverly, we looked the most likely. 

Time and hearts did stop when Lopes had a headed chance and Mandroiu’s free was tipped over. However, Burke being replaced by Gannon and Gaffney walking off like a pensioner was evidence of which direction the tide was flowing. Chances and half chances came and went and Mannus’ excellent stop down low from Mattie looked like saving a point for the visitors.

With Pats on the front foot, it was more than a point stolen at the death though. It’s such a gut wrenching feeling to concede a goal that late against this side of all, a hammer blow to the stomach that takes a while to recover from. The future and trajectory of this side is bright though. After the dust settles, the half-time fear has definitely given way to optimism. That is why we do it to ourselves. Ní Neart Go Cur Le Chéile.

Full match report available on www.dublingazette.com

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