ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC
St. Patrick’s Athletic welcome Cork City to Richmond Park in front of Setanta TV’s live cameras on Friday (kick off 8pm). The Saints are unbeaten at home in their last seven league games but are looking for their first win in any competition in a month. In the last fortnight, they were eliminated from both the Europa League by Zalgiris Vilnius and from the EA Sports Cup at the quarter-final stage last Tuesday in Tallaght by Shamrock Rovers. So the focus for Liam Buckley's men will be on maintaining and possibly extending their lead at the top of the Airtricity League.
When the sides last met in the league back in May, the Saints ran out 2-0 winners in Turner’s Cross with Anto Flood and John Russell the goalscorers that day. Speaking to www.stpatsfc.com Flood knows that his team will need to be at their best if they are to get another win over Cork as the season moves into the business end of the campaign.
“Cork are a strong side so we know we’ll have to play to the best of our ability on the night,” said Flood. “The last day in Cork we started well so again we’ll have to be at it from the start in what is a massive game. Everyone needs to perform, focus and be in a position of putting everything into each performance and leaving nothing left in the tank.”
“We’re heading into the final stretch of games now, but to be honest, it’s no different from earlier in the season. We’ll take things on a game by game basis, so we’ve Cork on Friday and we’re focused on playing them.”
Liam Buckley’s side has a quick turnaround after their extratime EA Sports Cup elimination to Shamrock Rovers on Tuesday night but Buckley was pleased with the performance in that game as he told www.stpatsfc.com.
“I thought we played well on Tuesday against Rovers,” said Buckley, “and were a bit unlucky not to get to penalties in the end. But we’re focused on Cork now and we’re looking forward to the game which should make for a good game to watch.
“Any time Cork City come to Inchicore it’s always great as games between the two clubs are always big occasions. There’s a typical Dublin-Cork rivalry there and it goes back to those huge games between our clubs back in the late 90’s. Richmond Park was packed out for those nights and hopefully we’ll see a good crowd at the game on Friday.”
It was another late concession that cost Cork City all three points last Friday night. In an all too familiar tale for the Leesiders, Dundalk grabbed an 89th minute equaliser in an entertaining 2-2 in Turner’s Cross last week.
City’s recent results in the league are a real mixed bag with two wins, two draws and four defeats in their last eight games but Cork City boss Tommy Dunne feels his side have a big performance in them and that Friday night gives them a great opportunity to showcase what they have against the league leaders in front of a live TV audience.
“Pats have been the most consistent team in the league over the last two years,” said Dunne speaking to www.corkcityfc.ie. “They were probably the best team we’ve played this year. Going to Richmond Park, you know the pitch will be perfect and it will be a good game of football.”
“We have to try and get a result. It will be a big ask for us, but I do think we’re capable; the group we have, on their day, can get a result against anybody. We were very good against Dundalk at times, and if we can marry all the sections of our game together, then I think there is a big result in us.”
Compared to Liam Buckley who has a full Pat’s squad to choose from, it is not so easy for Tommy Dunne. He has a trio of injured players who will definitely miss the game; Goalkeeper Kevin Burns (arm) and defenders Kevin Murray (groin) and Darren Dennehy (foot). John Kavanagh will miss out due to family commitments and similarly Denis Behan may have to miss the game while Colin Healy’s knee injury could possibly force him out of contention. Adam Rundle (virus) and John Dunleavy (knee) are two other doubts but Shane Duggan will return to the squad having been suspended for the Dundalk game.
Referee: Padraigh Sutton.
St. Patrick’s Athletic have the best home defensive record in the league so far this season. They have conceded just a miserly four goals in their 10 league games in Inchicore to date in 2013.
While Pat’s have been excellent at the back, they aren’t having any problems up front either. They are the joint top scorers at home with 20 goals (equal with Sligo and Shamrock Rovers).
In 2012, the Saints beat the Leesiders 1-0 in the league twice with Christy Fagan the match winner both times. The remaining result was a 0-0 draw in Richmond Park.
St. Patrick’s Athletic 1/2; Draw 14/5; Cork City 6/1.
Home win 2-0.
St. Patrick's Athletic
Injured: Kevin Burns, Kevin Murray, Darren Dennehy, John Kavanagh.
Doubtful: Colin Healy, Adam Rundle, John Dunleavy, Denis Behan.