Saint Patrick's Athletic edged a tight Dublin derby over northside rivals Shelbourne as Stephen Maher's 39th minute strike was enough for Liam Buckley's side to claim the three points and maintain top spot in the Airtricity League.
Both sides had chances to open the scoring in the opening stages of the game, but it was Shelbourne who created the first clearcut chance of the game on 30 minutes.
Stephen Hurley evaded the Saints defence on the right, and his low ball across the box found Dean Kelly, however despite hitting the target the Shels striker was denied by a great save by Pats' keeper Brendan Clarke.
The save appeared to give the Saints an extra bit of energy to open the scoring and they did so on 39 minutes. Greg Bolger's crossfield ball picked out Conan Byrne, and while the winger was disposed by former Saint Derek Doyle, he could only manage to clear the ball as far as Stephen Maher.
With Shels' netminder Niall Burdon off his line, Maher stayed calm to put the ball into an empty net from 20 yards to score what would be the crucial goal of the game.
The Saints attempted to push on in the second half but chances for Maher, Anto Flood, Ger O'Brien and Christy Fagan all failed to find the net, while a half-chance for Derek Doyle fell simply into the arms of Clarke.
The Saints saw out the three minutes of injury time to claim the points and remain one point clear of Dundalk.
St Patrick's Athletic: Clarke; O'Brien, Browne, Kenna (c), Bermingham; K Brennan, Maher (Gannon 85), Bolger; Byrne, Flood (Fagan 60), Forrester (Kelly 82).
Subs not used: Gilmartin, Price, Fitzgerald, Kavanagh.
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