Sam McKeever reports from Richmond Park
Dundalk made it a record breaking ten wins in a row as they fought hard to take all three points in Inchicore against St. Pat’s on Friday night.
Patrick Hoban scored twice in the second, either side of a Chris Shields goal, after Jake Keegan had given the Saints a lead to take into the break.
It was the away side who almost got off to a strong start as Kevin Toner’s poor touch allowed Dylan Connolly to pounce before he was chopped down by the former Aston Villa man.
Robbie Benson stepped up from the resulting free kick, which was blocked by the Saint’s wall.
A game with few chances in the opening 15 minutes saw former Pat’s defender Sean Hoare have the only real shot on goal, but he fired over the bar with his right foot from long range.
A minute later, Dundalk made the first real chance of the match. Hoban was slipped through on Brendan Clarke but the keeper, who made his return to the club this week, rushed off his line well to close down the angle.
It was Pats who broke the deadlock, however, Killian Brennan swung in a corner from the right and it found the head of Jake Keegan on the penalty spot.
Gary Rogers got a hand to the ball but could not prevent it from going into the back of the net as Keegan celebrated his sixth goal of the season
The Lilywhites almost responded instantly. Former Bray player Dylan Connolly made a fantastic run into the box which caused all sorts of panic in the Saints' defence.
A deflection broke the ball into the path of Hoban, but his effort from close range was vitally blocked by Kevin Toner.
Dundalk were back on level terms five minutes into the second half as sloppy play at the back from Pats allowed Connolly to find Hoban on the edge of the box.
Hoban set himself up perfectly, hitting a fantastic strike into the bottom corner, leaving Clarke flat-footed and registering a twentieth goal of the season for the striker.
Pats hit back with an attack through Brennan, who played a lovely through ball into the path of Conan Byrne, but he was tracked well by Dane Massey, who blocked Byrne’s resulting shot.
Dundalk took the lead just before the hour mark. Michael Duffy did fantastic work to get into acres of space before he saw Chris Shields making a fantastic run on the right hand side.
Duffy picked him out with pure precision and Shields made no mistake, side-footing the ball into the bottom corner.
A poor clearance from Dundalk offered Jamie Lennon with a good chance on the edge of the box to make the scores level.
The midfielder tried to side-foot the ball past Gary Rodgers but Lennon could not get enough power to really test the Dundalk goalkeeper.
Benson almost put The Lillywhites two in front as he tried an ambitious chip from outside the box, but Clarke was equal to it though as he back pedalled to tip the effort onto the crossbar.
The Saints pressed on for an equaliser but were caught on the break with a minute to go. A mishit Simon Madden shot gave substitute Kristian Adorjan a chance to break away up the other end of the pitch.
He passed to Michael Duffy, who squared it to Hoban in the box, and the Galway man made no mistake, sliding home to make it 3-1.
The result saw fall to a record seven defeats on the bounce, while Dundalk have equalled a record with their tenth win in a row.
St Patrick's Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Ian Bermingham, Kevin Toner, Lee Desmond, Conan Byrne(Thomas Byrne 78); Killian Brennan, Ryan Brennan, Simon Madden, Dean Clarke(Markey 81); Jamie Lennon, Jake Keegan.
Subs not used: Brian Maher (gk), Michael Barker, Graham Kelly, James Doona, Michael Leahy.
Booked: Kevin Toner (1).
Dundalk: Gary Rodgers; Brian Gartland, Sean Hoare(Gannon 80), Chris Shields, Michael Duffy(Adorjan 75); Patrick Hoban, Jamie McGrath, Dane Massey, Dylan Connolly; Robbie Benson, Dan Cleary
Subs not used: Gabriel Sava, Ronan Murray, Georgie Poynton, Dean Jarvis, Georgie Kelly
Bookings: Jamie McGrath (18)
Referee: Neil Doyle.
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Patrick Hoban (Dundalk).