St Pats overcome first obstacle in title defence

Paddy Keenan stood on the sideline for the full sixty minutes on Saturday night.

Paddy Keenan stood on the sideline for the full sixty minutes on Saturday night.

The Louth captain was togged out and appeared free of injury.

However, he simply wasn’t needed as the reigning Senior Championship holders tore apart Dreadnots in clinical fashion in front of a decent sized crowd in Haggardstown.

Pats manager Fergal Reel didn’t feel the need to risk Keenan in this opening round clash with the Clogherhead outfit and his calculated gamble proved correct as Paudie Mallon and Colin Goss were more than capable of breaking up any Dreadnots resistance in midfield.

Reel’s opposite number Paddy Clarke would have loved to have that kind of decision to make. For Clarke it was a struggle to get a capable squad together for this match.

The Dreadnot’s lack of squad depth was cruelly highlighted in the second half of this encounter when Clarke was forced to re-introduce Conor Murphy for the injured Padraig Rath, Murphy had previously been taken off just ten minutes earlier.

The Pats started with intent and never let up. Following a missed free in the opening minute, Daniel O’Connor planted a score in the fourth minute.

Kenneth Shevlin in the Dreadnots goal pulled off a great save to deny Eamon Carroll, however Carroll knocked over the rebound to give the Lordship men a two point lead.

Three more scores followed before the Dreadnots eventually replied thanks to a Cian McEvoy point.

Eoin O’Connor lofted over a tremendous point on the twenty minute mark as the Pats extended their lead to five points.

The two O’Connor boys scored a goal and three points before the close of the opening half to leave St Patricks ahead at half time with a score of 1-9 to 0-2, with Connor Campbell firing over Dreadnots second score.

With the game drifting away from them already, Dreadnots attempted to gain a foothold inthe opening exchanges of the second half.

Pat Lynch was unfortunate not to raise the green flag in the third minute when his fierce drive was well saved by Sean Connor in the Pats nets.

That chance was the only attacking chance for Dreadnot for the next ten minutes, as Owen Zamboglou, Aidan McCann and Karl White all added scores for the Lordship club.

Lynch did get a Dreadnots goal in the eleventh minute of the second half. The full forward buried his chance with aplomb to give manager Reel something to smile about at last.

Two more points rained in on Shevlin in the Nots goal before Lynch added his second goal of the night with just over ten minutes left.

However that was to be the highlight for the Clogherhead men as St Patricks ran them ragged for the remainder of the clash.

Two goals and five more points added the gloss to this rather one-sided encounter, the pick of those scores was a wonderful goal from veteran Ray Finnegan, who got on the end of a brilliantly accurate long ball played in by Aidan McCann and the Louth star made no mistake in front of Shevlin in the Nots goal.

In the end the defending champions barely needing to break a sweat in overcoming a resilient but ultimately limp Dreadnots side.

The Pats passing and movement was a step above anything the Nots could conjure and the Lordship giants look like a difficult side to catch at the moment when they are in full flight.

Full time: St Patricks 3-19, Dreadnots 2-3.

SCORERS Dreadnots Pat Lynch (2-0), Cian McEvoy (0-1), Connor Campbell (0-1), Conor Murphy (0-1)

St Patricks Eoin O’Connor (1-6), Daniel O’Connor (1-3), Eamonn Carroll (0-4), Aidan McCann (0-3), Ray Finnegan (1-0), Owen Zamboglou (0-1), Karl White (0-2, 1f).

DREADNOTS: Kenneth Shevlin, Brian Gargan, Padraig Rath, Dermot Campbell, Richard Kirwan, Anthony Williams, Cian McEvoy, Barry Faulkner, David O’Brien, Anthony Lynch, Pauric Smith, Luke Judge, Conor Murphy, Pat Lynch, Connor Campbell. Subs: Gordon Kirwan for C Murphy, 38 mins; C Murphy for P Rath, 48 mins. Booked: A Williams, 18 mins.

ST PATRICKS: Sean Connor, Jamie O’Hare, Dessie Finnegan, Darren O’Hannlon, Ray Finnegan, Eamon Breen, Owen Zamboglou, Colin Goss, Paudie Mallon, Evan White, Karl White, Aidan McCann, Eamon Carroll, Eoin O’Connor, Daniel O’Connor. Subs: Kevin Toner for D Finnegan, 46 mins; Alan O’Connor for O Zamboglou, 47 mins. Booked: P Mallon, 60 mins.

WIDES: Dreadnots 6 (2 first half), St Patricks 6 (4 first half).

REFEREE: Kevin Brady.