St Patrick’s Athletic manager Liam Buckley was the happiest man in south Dublin last Sunday after his side earned a 1-1 draw against Shamrock Rovers at Tallaght.
A late equaliser from former Hoop Pat Flynn earned an important point for the Saints against the champions and Buckley couldn’t contain his joy, even though he admitted that Rovers were the better team.
“I'm absolutely chuffed with the result. I thought that Rovers were the better team on the day and they had the better chances but the lads stuck at it. Brendan Clarke made a few really important saves, none more than in the final few minutes when (Gary) Twigg was in on goal. With the team spirit that we have the lads stuck at it and created a chance for Pat Flynn. It was fantastic control and a great finish from him.”
The result leaves the Saints four points behind current leaders Sligo Rovers in the Premier League table and for obvious reasons that makes Buckley happy.
“There will be loads of points dropped. There are no easy matches. It is a very competitive league and from our end I am delighted that we are in the thick of it. I'm not sure how it will finish up but we are working extremely hard to be as competitive as we can every week.”
Elsewhere, new signing Anto Flood was booked on his first start for his new club but Buckley did not agree with the decision: “It was a ridiculous yellow card for him. It is utter madness. He is clapping over at the fans who are singing Ponochio all afternoon and the linesman puts up his flag because he thinks he is mocking him so the referee decides to book him. It was a ridiculous yellow card for me.”
Buckley was also keen to praise the former Bohemians striker who had a couple of chances for his new team “I thought he done great. He is only in a week and he will need to get used to the play. Fitness wise there will be more in him bearing in mind he is only training with us a week and he has been off for the previous six or seven weeks. I was delighted that he got through the game. His effort is second to none and he will be a great addition to our group.”
Pats will take a 1-0 lead into the second leg of their Europa League tie against IBV on Thursday evening and the manager gave an update on some of the injured players who missed the game against Shamrock Rovers.
“Ian Bermingham had a bit of an ankle injury. We could have played him today but it wouldn't have helped in relation to the game on Thursday. Ger O'Brien had a slight problem as well. Hopefully he will be cleared for Thursday. Christy Fagan had a hip flexor and it is borderline whether he will be available for Thursday or not. We won't get through the games that we have over the next few weeks with the same 11 so it's important that when fellows come in that they do well” added Buckley.