Dublin club Saint Patrick's Athletic FC have ended a 14-year wait for the Irish title after clinching the Premier Division championship with two games to spare by beating 2012 champions Sligo Rovers FC 2-0.
With second-placed Dundalk FC dropping points at Bohemian FC 24 hours earlier, St Patrick's went into Sunday's home match with Sligo knowing a win would guarantee them the crown – and first-half goals from Greg Bolger and Anthony Flood secured victory.
"It's very special for us to be champions of Ireland," said Pats captain Conor Kenna, the team's longest-serving player. "It has been a long time coming, for the club and for us as players, but we are deserved champions."
"We went close last season but knew if we could keep that squad intact and add to it a bit, we would be OK and we got what we deserved. It's a great feeling to be champions again after all this time."
Watched by a large home crowd at Richmond Park – including, in the VIP seats, the president of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, and the Republic of Ireland's interim manager Noel King – St Patrick's initially looked nervous but a fine 33rd-minute strike from midfielder Bolger eased the nerves before Flood's 42nd-minute tap-in wrapped up the win. Disappointed to surrender their crown, third-placed Sligo now turn their attention to the FAI Cup final against Drogheda United FC at the Dublin Arena on 3 November.
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