SAINT PATRICK’S ATHLETIC
St. Pat’s will be looking to keep up with league leaders Sligo Rovers on Sunday when they take on Drogheda United in Richmond Park. Their opponents have the added incentive of knowing that if they can claim an away win they will take the Saints’ second spot in the table. So Pat’s will be hoping that there will be no ill effects from their long journey to Iceland late last week.
The Saints had to play 120 minutes in their Europa League first qualifying round second leg as Icelandic opponents IBV took the game to extra time after the home side led 1-0 at the end of normal time. Pat’s had to dig deep in extra time as they conceded another goal and it looked like they were going to join Dublin rivals Bohemians, who were beaten 5-1 in Iceland on the same night, in being eliminated from Europe. However, Stephen O’Flynn’s 99th minute goal was enough to see them through on away goals with the tie ending 2-2.
It was another late late show in the league last week when Pat Flynn popped up to score an injury equaliser for the Saints away to Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght. “I was pretty shocked to get the equaliser,” said the full back speaking to stpatstv after the 1-1 draw. “It’s not like me to score at all!”
Pat’s manager Liam Buckley talking to extratime.ie after the match, admitted that “I’m absolutely chuffed with the result.” Pat’s had Brendan Clarke to thank for a late save to keep them in the game when Gary Twigg was one-on-one with the Saints keeper. “Brendan Clarke made a few really important saves, none more than in the final few minutes when Twigg was in on goal,” said Buckley. “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.”
Anto Flood will have the benefit of the games against Rovers and IBV under his belt as he looks to make his first league start in Richmond Park since his move from Southend United. It may be too early for Christy Fagan to return from the hip injury that has kept him out of recent games.
Mick Cooke’s side go into Sunday’s game away to St. Pat’s unbeaten in two months. With Monaghan’s withdrawal from the Airtricity League, United were idle last week on the pitch but off it they were busy with Mick Cooke signing up two former Monaghan players. 23 year old midfielder Jason Marks has joined United along with goalkeeper Michael Schlingerman. Both come into the Drogheda match day squad that will travel to Inchicore. There are no fitness worries for Drogheda but unavailable for the Boynesiders will be Eric Foley and Stephen Quigley. They both have picked up four yellow cards during the season and will have to sit out this game due to suspension.
As Drogheda move into the second half of their league campaign, a win would see them leap frog their opponents on Sunday in the table. “We know going there that if we beat them we can go ahead and be second in the league,” said United manager Mick Cooke speaking ahead of the game. “At this stage of the season that would be a great achievement but there is still a long way to go yet.”
Cooke will be hoping that his team can possibly exploit some tiredness in the opposition who had to play 120 minutes in Iceland in their Europa League qualifier on Thursday night. His own team will be fresh after a long break since their last game, an impressive 3-0 win in the Brandywell against Derry City at the end of June. “It will be 16 days since we last had a game and it's going to be interesting to see how we react to that. Equally it will be interesting to see how Pats react to their game on Thursday. Pats are no pushovers. They had a great result on Thursday and are unbeaten in a long time at home.”
Referee: Graham Kelly.
Declan O’Brien is top scorer for Drogheda United with ten goals having scored seven in the league. Sean Brennan is the top goalscoring Brennan brother with four goals, Gavin has three and Ryan two. They have all scored two league goals each.
Christy Fagan is the Saints top goalscorer on eleven goals with eight of them coming in the league.
The sides played out a 0-0 draw in Hunky Dorys Park back in April.
St. Patrick's Athletic 5/6; Draw 5/2; Drogheda United 3/1.
1-1 with a fresher United side earning a point against Pats
St. Patrick’s Athletic Injury News: Mark Rossiter.
St. Patrick’s Athletic Suspension News: John Russell.
Drogheda United Injury News: None.
Drogheda United Suspension News: Eric Foley, Stephen Quigley.