ST. PATRICK’S ATHLETIC
Fifth-placed St. Patrick’s Athletic welcome Bohemians to Richmond Park (kick-off 7.45 p.m.) on Matchday 35 of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division season.
The Inchicore side trail Bohs by eight points with three games left (Pat’s have a game in hand against Derry City) so a win tonight against their north City rivals is imperative if there is to be any hope of Europa League action at Richmond Park next season.
After an initial “new manager bounce” following Stephen O’Donnell’s arrival, St. Pat’s have failed to fire in recent weeks and are without a win in three league games and have lost two of their last five. They also tamely exited the FAI Cup.
We are looking forward to it,” O’Donnell told stpatsfc.com when anticipating the latest Dublin derby.
“It has been a long enough two weeks since the Waterford game. With it being the last home game of the season, hopefully we can give the home support something to go home happy with and look forward to next season.
“Bohs will be full of confidence having beaten Dundalk at home with a good perf, albeit Dundalk played a different system. It’s going to be a tough game and there will be a great atmosphere.
“They will be very happy with their season to date as they’ve done really well so it is up for us to rise to the challenge and I’m sure our boys will. We have had two very good weeks of training and everyone is chomping at the bit and looking forward to it.”
Although Pats have failed to score in their last three league games, which have seen scoreless stalemates with U.C.D. and Shamrock Rovers and a dispiriting loss in Waterford, there was a boost in the Leinster Senior Cup when a Gary Shaw strike saw off promotion-chasing Cabinteely in Stradbrook.
O’Donnell will have a full-strength squad to choose from for the Bohs showdown, apart from Republic of Ireland under-21 midfielder Jamie Lennon, who serves a one match suspension.
Despite being down to the bare bones in terms of squad resources due to injuries, Bohs are riding high in third place, sitting on the cusp of Europa League qualification.
Bohs’ latest impressive result came at Dalymount Park last week when goals from Luke Wade Slater and Andre Wright gave Keith Long’s men a stirring 2-1 win over Dundalk – a first defeat in 31 games for the champions.
Bohs are boosted for the St. Pat’s encounter by the return to fitness of Keith Buckley (who scored the winner against Pat’s back in March), Andy Lyons and Conor Levingston.
The Gypsies most recent win over Dundalk meant that they have gone three league games unbeaten, with their last defeat coming against Waterford last month.
A point will secure Bohemians Europa League qualification, with the Saints lying eight points behind Keith Long’s charges.
Referee: Neil Doyle
Bohs have taken seven of the nine available league points from St. Pat’s this campaign, winning the two Dalymount Park encounters and drawing 1-1 at Richmond Park back in May.
Bohs won’t be able to call on two of their principals from that stalemate on May 17th. Long-term injury absentee Dinny Corcoran missed from the spot that night before Danny Mandroiu (banned for his dismissal in the extra.ie FAI Cup semi-final defeat to Shamrock Rovers) netted the equaliser.
Darragh Markey is the only St. Patrick’s Athletic player to score against Bohemians this season.
St. Patrick’s Athletic 7/5; Draw 11/5; Bohemians 2/11.
St. Patrick’s Athletic 1 – 2 Bohemians
St. Patrick’s Athletic
Suspended: Jamie Lennon.
Injured: Rob Cornwall, Darragh Leahy, Dinny Corcoran.
Suspended: Danny Mandroiu.