- Friday February 17th, 2023 @ 22:16
Report: Saints 1-1 Derry City
Close on 5,000 fans packed into a throbbing Richmond Park for the opening fixture of the new SSE Airtricity League of Ireland Premier Division season.
St Pat's picked up a deserved point against last season's league runners up and FAI Cup winners, Derry City.
The supporters were rewarded with an interesting encounter that looked like going Derry's way until a dramatic finale when skipper Joe Redmond managed to rescue a point with an equaliser in the final minute.
Manager Tim Clancy handed first starts to new signings Noah Lewis, Tommy Lonergan and Vladislav Kreida.
Derry suffered an early set back when Michael Duffy had to pull out after the warm up with loanee Ollie O'Neill replaced him in the starting line-up.
Derry led at the break through a Jordan McEneff goal on 33 minutes, the former Arsenal man pounced on a loose pass out from defence and finished beyond David Odumosu, sending the 600 or so Derry fans into celebrations.
That goal came just after St Pat's had a narrow escape when Redmond was on hand to head away an O'Neill goal bound effort when Odumosu's clearance went fell to the Derry man.
Earlier Odumosu did well to get a hand to Ryan Graydon's finish after an O'Neill pass had sent him bearing down on the St Pat's goal, it was an excellent save.
The home side spurred on by the sold out crowd rallied and finished the half on the attack with both Redmond and Noah Lewis just failing to get a touch onto an Anto Breslin free from the right and Jamie Lennon having his drive blocked.
St Pat's looked to a strong bench and manager Clancy made some substitutions bringing on Jake Mulraney, Serge Atakayi, Eoin Doyle and Conor Carty, a real show of the attacking quality in the squad.
The changes sparked a revival as Derry appeared to sit on their lead and the Saints went close to an equaliser when Jamie Lennon's 20-yard effort shaved the Derry crossbar.
Mulraney fired in a great delivery from the left but Atakayi was unable to get a touch.
Another Mulraney cross shot was hastily turned around the post by a grateful Brian Maher.
With the fans in full voice and Richmond Park rocking St Pat's were finally rewarded in the 89th minute when Redmond was on hand finished into the Derry net after some fierce pressure that had yielded three corners in quick succession, Vlad Kreida got the assist.
A deserved point for the Saints and it will give them a good boost for another tasty home fixture next Friday against Shelbourne.
St. Patrick's Athletic: David Odumosu, Sam Curtis, Noah Lewis, Joe Redmond, Tom Grivosti (Serge Atakayi, '66) Anto Breslin, Jamie Lennon, Vladislav Kreida, Mark Doyle (Jake Mulraney, '53), Chris Forrester (Conor Carty, '74), Tommy Lonergan (Eoin Doyle, '74).
Subs not used: Daniel Rogers, Jason McClelland, Ben McCormack, Thijs Timmermans, Jay McGrath.
Derry City: Brian Maher, Ciaran Coll, Shane McEleney, Mark Connolly, Cameron McJannet (Ronan Boyce, '45), Will Patching, Adam O'Reilly, Jordan McEneff (Brandon Kavanagh, '71), Ollie O'Neill (Patrick McEleney, '59), Ryan Graydon, Jamie McGonigle (Cian Kavanagh,'71).
Subs not used: Tadhg Ryan, Ben Doherty, Matthew Ward, Michael Duffy, Evan McLaughlin.
Referee: Rob Harvey.
Report by John Hudson