St Patricks Athletic 1 - 1 Rovers
eircom National League
Rovers battled hard to earn their first draw of the League campaign against reigning champions St Patrick's Athletic. The Hoops started with Brian Byrne replacing Shane Robinson on the right wing and he was involved quite a lot in a first 30 minutes in which both sides worked hard to create an opening. St Pats had the best two chances in this spell but Robbie Horgan was in fine form and a great double save kept St Pats out.
On 36 minutes, Rovers made the breakthrough. Tommy Dunne sent in a fine cross and Graham Lawlor finished with style, steering the ball past Trevor Wood in the Pats goal. He was now off the mark for Rovers in only his second game.
The second half started with Pats intent on getting the equaliser and only two brave saves from Horgan kept them out. Indeed, it looked like Horgan would have to come off after receiving a knock to the head from the knee of Aaron Callaghan but he recovered well and continued to impress. However, he could do little about Marcus Hallows' equaliser on 53 minutes which all started when a Rovers corner was cleared and Alan McNevin broke fast upfield. He then unselfishly squared for Hallows who made no mistake from 12 yards.
Derek Treacy hobbled off in the 62nd minute to be replaced by Marc Kenny. Rovers then upped a gear and began to threaten the Pats goal. Some fine work by Tony Cousins almost brought the second but when Byrne was replaced by Robinson in the 74th minute the Hoops began to seriously get behind the Pats defence. A great cross from Robinson was beaten out by Wood when it looked like Lawlor was going to get his second and Wood again foiled Kenny's follow up shot.
Rovers finished the game strongly and Cousins almost won the game in the dying minutes pouncing on a mistake by Wood, only to see his shot cleared off the line by the vigilant Trevor Croly. A great second half and a much improved performance by the Hoops.
"The disappointment of not winning was offset by the resilience and spirit shown by the players. Questions were asked after the performance against Cork. We got our answer today" said manager Damien Richardson afterwards.