ONE of the largest crowds Richmond Park has seen this season cheered their side onto a crucial victory last night, and plunged Shamrock Rovers into further relegation danger.
The numbers queueing outside the Stadium of Light in the freezing weather showed the importance of this game to both sides, but there could be only one winner.
Alan Reilly's first half free kick and Gerard Rowe's second half strike took Pat's to 32 points in the Premier Division - a sum likely to guarantee them survival.
It didn't look so positive for much of the first half, however.
Marc Kenny's cross from the right wing found Rovers skipper Trevor Molloy in the box and his powerful glancing header was well saved by Barry Ryan.
The former Hoops keeper denied Molloy once more before the break when the hitman latched onto Foley's deft touch only to fire the ball straight at the keeper.
They were to be made to pay for the misses when Alan Reilly lashed home a free kick from the edge of the box to give the Saints an unlikely half time lead.
The second half began with Rovers on top once more, but poor finishing and bad luck would lead to their downfall.
Alan Reilly was again the architect with a clever pass from the left wing for Gerard Rowe to run on to and prod past Murphy to seal the points.
Mark Rutherford scrambled home a consolatory effort at the back post with two minutes to go, but it was too little too late for the Hoops, who conceded a late penalty which Robbie Doyle converted.
© Irish Independent