League Preview: St Patrick's Athletic -v- UCD

Thu, Apr 25 2019

UCD midfielder Richie O'Farrell will return to Richmond Park for the first time since leaving the Saints over the winter. Credit: Peter Fitzpatrick (ETPhotos)

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC

St Patrick’s Athletic will look to make it three wins on the bounce for the first time in 11 months when they welcome second-from-bottom UCD to Richmond Park (kick-off 7.45pm).

The Saints last managed three consecutive wins on May 18th of 2018 when they completed victories over Limerick, Sligo Rovers and Derry City in the space of eight days.

Victory over the Students would complete a very good week for Harry Kenny’s side following wins at home to Sligo Rovers and away to Finn Harps and confirmation they will enter this season's Europa League.

The Athletic have managed four goals in those two games, having only struck six times in their opening ten games, and there are signs the Inchicore side are starting to motor.

Goals in either half from Conor Clifford and Mikey Drennan – the latter a penalty – helped the Saints to a facile 2-0 win at Finn Park on Easter Monday.

Drennan’s goal helped the striker to his fifth of the season, which leaves him just one behind the league’s top scorers Dinny Corcoran and Patrick Hoban.

"The wins we have picked up lately have been important and help build momentum,” Kenny told the club’s media team.

“The results help breed confidence and the lads are in good form and we are playing well.

“We are chasing teams down now, so we are just now focused and looking forward to Friday’s game against UCD.

“They deserved their draw against us in the first game in the UCD Bowl so we are preparing for a very difficult game. They have a philosophy there which they stick to so you have to admire them for that.

“They will play some good football so we have to get amongst them and be at our best to get a result, but it is one we looking forward to."

David Webster is suspended after picking up a three-game ban for his sending-off in the 1-1 draw with Cork, but Kenny has an otherwise full squad to pick from.

UCD

UCD remain second-from-bottom after falling to a second successive defeat at home to Dundalk on Monday afternoon.

The Students had taken an early lead thanks to a fine finish from Yoyo Madhy but Dundalk equalised from the spot within four minutes.

Daniel Kelly appeared to dive to win a penalty and Patrick Hoban made no mistake, before Michael Duffy and ex-Student Georgie Kelly scored in the second half.

It was Collie O’Neill’s side’s eighth defeat in 12 games and they battle to get used to the standard of Premier Division football.

O’Neill has consistently stressed that their general play is good despite the losses, but admits they’ll need to start seeing some return soon.

“I haven’t seen the penalty back but the players are adamant he wasn’t touched and no way should it have been a penalty,” O’Neill told extratime.ie.

“That changes the game altogether. There was loads of huffing and puffing, the effort I can’t fault, we just lacked that little bit of quality.

“The longer it goes on and you don’t pick up the points you think you deserve, it gets harder and harder to keep morale [up] off the field. That’s where we’re at.”

Evan Osam remains out for the season with a ruptured achilles, but O’Neill confirmed he has gotten the protective boot removed and will start rehab soon.

Referee: John McLoughlin.

MATCH STATS

The sides have met once so far this season, a 1-1 draw at the UCD Bowl as Conor Davis cancelled out Mikey Drennan’s first-half opener.

That was the first competitive meeting between the sides since 2014, when UCD were last at the top level.

The Saints last managed three consecutive wins on May 18th of 2018 when they completed victories over Limerick, Sligo Rovers and Derry City in the space of eight days.

BETTING

St Patrick’s Athletic 8/13; Draw 11/4; UCD 4/1.

PREDICTION

St Patrick’s Athletic 1 – 2 UCD

St Patrick’s Athletic

Injured: None.

Doubtful: None.

Suspended: David Webster.

UCD

Injured: Evan Osam (achilles).

Doubtful: None.

Suspended: None.