ST. PATRICK'S ATHLETIC
A place in the FAI Cup Quarter Final is up for grabs as St. Patrick's Athletic host fellow Premier Division side Galway United at Richmond Park on Friday night (kick-cff 7.45pm).
The Saints enter the second round of the FAI Cup following a 2-0 victory over Portmarnock AFC at Paddys Hill in the First Round proper of the prestigious competition.
Last time out in the league, Pats came out 4-0 winners over Finn Harps in Inchicore. Graham Kelly grabbed the opener before Kurtis Byrne scored a brace to seal the result in the Saints' favour. Conan Byrnes strike was sandwiched in between Kurtis Byrne's double.
Killian Brennan should make a return to the starting XI alongside Christy Fagan. Owen Garvan and Paul O'Conor are doubts and will be given late fitness tests before kick off.
Liam Buckley's charges will be boosted by the news that defender Darren Dennehy has returned to training. Meanwhile, fellow defensive partner Gavin Peers will sit this game out through injury.
Speaking with stpatsfc.com, Buckley said he expects a tough battle at Richmond Park.
"Galway will be tough opponents as there is no pressure on them in the Cup, both sides can forget about league duties for a week and just go for it so we're expecting a difficult challenge. Shane Keegan has them playing well in the last couple of weeks and Galway are one of the in-form sides in the league.”
"It's the cup though and we've done well in it over the past few seasons so fingers crossed we can keep up our own good run of form and get through to the next round."
Galway United make the trip up to Dublin for the second round in a row, after disposing of non-league side KIllester United after a penalty shootout. Ronan Murray scored a hat trick as The Tribesmen squeezed their way through.
In contrast to their opponents, Galway come into the game on the back of 2-1 home defeat to Shamrock Rovers at Eamonn Deacy Park. Hoops striker Gary Shaw popped up with a brace to break Galway's hearts at the death.
Galway will have to contend without the services of David Cawley who has picked up a suspension following an accumulation of yellow cards.
Marc Ludden misses out on the trip to the capital after suffering a knee injury following a collision with Shamrock Rovers striker Gary Shaw last time out.
Speaking ahead of the game with the clubs official media team, manager Shane Keegan has said that he is looking forward to the game despite the challenge that it brings to the fore.
"It's a nice distraction to have first and foremost. In terms of toughness of the draw, only away to Cork City or Dundalk could've been more difficult if you're going on current form.”
"Pats are one of the form teams in the country at the moment and we're also in a good run of form ourselves.”
"Liam has strengthened massively, when you look at them now, they've brought in a new centre half and an entirely new centre midfield pairing. They've spent a lot of money in the transfer window, so it's no real surprise to see them digging themselves out of the hole they were in.”
Despite defeat last time out, Keegan drew on plenty of positives which gives him confidence of his side coming home with a victory.
"I thought we were excellent against Shamrock Rovers last week and deserved more. It was a good opening 45 and a poor second half, but we possibly could have and should have been out of sight at half time against one of the top sides in the country, if the correct decisions were made.”
"It will be a difficult task heading to Richmond Park without David Cawley and Marc Ludden, but I'm quite confident that we can go there and cause them problems."
Referee: Paul McLaughlin
The previous two clashes between the pair have seen two 1-1 stalemates at both Richmond and Eamonn Deacy Park.
Form in their last five competitive games - St Patricks Athletic WWDWW and Galway United LDLWL
This will be the first of St. Patrick's Athletic's two cup games due to to take place in the space of four day. They are hosting Dublin rivals Shelbourne in the semi-final of the Leinster Senior Cup on Monday night.
St Patricks Athletic 3/4; Draw 11/4; Galway United 7/2.
St. Patricks Athletic 2-1 Galway United
St. Patricks Athletic
Injured: Gavin Peers
Doubtful: Paul O'Conor, Owen Garvan
Injured: Marc Ludden
Suspended: David Cawley