St Patrick’s Athletic and Dundalk go head to head tonight in a massive game at Richmond Park. Peter Boyne previews the clash between the Premier Division holders and the apparent heirs to the throne.
This week in the SSE Airtricity League, can be seen as quite a pivotal one. In last year’s renewal of this fixture, St Pats beat Dundalk 2-0 to all but ensure their league title. This year, the fixture is of similar importance, yet both fans will find themselves on different sides of the coin.
Dundalk are leading this year’s title chase and seem to be distancing themselves from Cork and the others in fashionable style. Cork’s poor result last week in Athlone can be seen as a significant boost to the visitors in their search for silverware.
The Saints have been somewhat of a hard luck story this year. Having spent most of the season dominting teams, the Saints have struggled to put the ball in the net. However it is not for a lack of trying, as “Gisty” Fagan illustrates wth his sixteen league goals thus far.
Dundalk however, have a formidable strike force themselves. Patrick Hoban and Evan McMillan have chipped in with 15 goals each and are certainly a force to be reckoned with.
Dundalk have been pulling points when it matters. From last minute equalisers and winners to thrashing teams with their wonderful passing moves and skilled, high intensity tactics, this Dundalk side areshowing all the characteristics of champions.
The game holds similar importance for both as it would bring Dundalk closer to the title, whilst bringing the Saints closer to another European adventure.
In team news, Pats will not be lacking any of their ‘big guns’ for the encounter, with a full squad to choose from. Dundalk are also fortunate enough to have a near full squad to choose from with Stephen O’Donnell missing and also Simon Kelly.
Prediction: The prediction for these kinds of games, can often be hit and miss. So far this year, this writer hasn’t done too badly;. To keep that run going, the prediction is a 1-0 victory for the Saints.
Pats will try to keep possession and work hard, while both defenses will be solid.
Referee: Paul McLaughlin
Assistant 1: Allen Lynch
Assistant 2: Emmet Dynan
Fourth Official: Tomas Connolly
St Patrick’s Athletic 9/5
Peter Boyne, Pundit Arena.