The home team started the brighter, stretching to a rapid 1-3 to 0-4 lead until Chuck Breen unloaded to give Realt Dearg a needed goal and the lead. St Pats came on again with a lengthy period of dominance in the middle of the half but were undone by some uncharacteristic wides from placed balls. 29 mins into the half left Realt Dearg a point to the good 1-5 to 1-4 until a galtee- cheese powered Stephen Roche pounced in the final minute to goal and result in a hard won 4 point lead at the break, 2-5 to 1-4.
The second half was only settling down when Roche flashed another ground ball to the net, followed by a free 65m out.. Martin Murphy then followed up a with looping special to deceive the keeper from distance as the ball found the far top corner - the gap now being a sizable 4-6 to 1-4. St Pats reacted with vigour and re-organised to run at the Realt Dearg defense at every opportunity. Despite resolute defence from Chairman Jackman, St Pat pressure told and found the net to reduce the lead. Realt Dearg responded with a free after more good work on the wing from Martin Murphy but the tide in the middle was turning despite Denis O's telling flicks.
Carlo then suffered from a minor helmet disassembly malfunction after a rugby international-like clash, while the action resumed with the teams trading a number of wides, all under intense pressure from the defences. The Realt Dearg defense stood firm to repeated straight running attacks with Mike Richardson proving immovable, and Ultan Dillon and Eoin Fitz Velcro-like. St Pats pointed a free 17 minutes into the half to make it 4-7 to 2-5 when Chairman Trevor had to leave the pitch after a knock to the knee-cap.
St Patricks now applied even more pressure with runners displaying Chinese-Olympic like reserves of energy to drive through midfield and the half forward lines. After a logarithmic number of ground pulls the ball found the net twice in 5 minutes to suddenly create a 1-point ball game with 5 minutes to go, 4-7 to 4-6. As Mulkere pucked out from goal all eyes turned to the next telling possessions which would decide the match. Cometh the hour, cometh the roving John Tarpey who gathered in the middle and dropped an inspirational point onto the roof of the net. Roche then followed up with a long-range free to finally overcome the stern home-teams challenge. Scor Deireanach - Realt Dearg 4-9 Naomh Padraig 4-6.
This was a tough lung-busting championship level game in November proving the huge amounts of dedication from all involved. Long odds would have been got at the outset that the 2013 Realt Dearg season would outlast Flannery's public house trading, but then in this reporters opinion its merely cause and effect in action. Roll on the Christmas league payoff final showdown.
by David Roche