IT MAY be shaping up to be a thrilling league title race but, with Shelbourne back on top of the league and Jason Byrne top of the goalscoring charts, there's a familiar look about things this morning.
The first-half brace from the striker at Tolka Park last night that sent Shels towards victory in a fiercely-contested Dublin derby brought his league tally for the season to nine goals.
And, with Cork dropping points down the road at Dalymount Park and Drogheda and Derry doing the same on Monday night, Shels have crept to the top of the pile ahead of another European adventure this weekend.
The foundation of this win was built on a strong finish to a first half that started off in rip-roaring fashion.
In the early stages, the brilliance of St Pat's keeper Barry Ryan kept Shelbourne at bay almost single-handedly as he made two stunning saves to deny Bobby Ryan and then Byrne in the early exchanges.
The second, with 25 minutes on the clock, was particularly impressive with his fingertips pushing Byrne's bullet header against the post before Glen Crowe's follow-up was kept out by the crossbar.
The Saints had received a boost ahead of this game as centre half Colm Foley was deemed fit to return to action after a year on the sidelines.
Foley had endured a lengthy rehabilitation from a serious knee injury but he was soon in the thick of a Shels onslaught.
There was an element of rustiness about the visitors' back four as they were caught out time and time again. Their luck ran out in the 32nd minute.
Ryan's lofted pass breached the Saints offside trap to find Byrne who was left with just Barry Ryan to beat and didn't mess about with a first time lob into the back of the net.
Crowe wasted another one-on-one shortly afterwards but he atoned for that profligacy by creating a second goal for Byrne just before half time.
St Pat's right full Stephen Brennan was dispossessed by Crowe who released his strike partner. Byrne did the rest from ten yards.
It was comfortable enough for Shels after the break and Crowe eventually got the goal his hard work deserved 15 minutes from time when he headed home Ollie Cahill's pinpoint delivery.
© Irish Independent