This weekend sees the Saints host the Leesiders at Richmond Park in what is always a tight encounter.
Liam Buckley’s St. Patrick’s Athletic, will be looking to follow up on their midweek 4-1 home win over Crumlin United by picking up three points, whilst also claiming their first big scalp. As we all remember, in Week 1 – Pat’s and Shamrock Rovers more so played the wind and rain than each other.
Buckley has made it clear in his pre-match thoughts that we will have a tight game in Richmond Park. Bucko is no stranger to the big scene, the tight game, the pressure, having brought Pat’s their first FAI cup in more than five decades.
Approaching the game against Cork City, Pat’s manager Liam Buckley told stpatsfc.com of his satisfaction surrounding the Saints’ midweek win, and that he now has some tough calls to make regarding team selection.
“I was really pleased with the result on Tuesday against Crumlin. We scored some good goals and a few players have put their hands up to be picked now on Friday. We’ll assess the squad closer to kick-off and Friday and make a few calls on who is selected. “
Commenting on the prospect of facing the Leesiders, Buckley said,
“Cork are a good side and have made a good start to the league. Games between us and Cork are always very tight and I’d expect Friday to be no different.
“John’s side will come here looking for a result so it should make for a great game, especially as I know our crowd will turn out in big numbers and get behind the team.”
The Saints will be looking to gain some momentum, having had an up and down start to the season. They will see the return of Killian Brennan from suspension this evening, along with Jason McGuinness.
However, Buckley will be without the services of defender Ian Bermingham, following his dismissal for two bookings during the 2-2 draw with Longford. Brendan Clarke, still not fully fit following an ankle injury, is also expected to miss out.
Ger O’Brien isn’t one to be known for shirking a challenge and the Saints’ captain is excited to return to league action in this evening’s clash.
“It’s great to be back in the set-up after my hamstring injury. It was a niggling problem so to be back involved playing against Longford and Crumlin last week was great.
“Playing an hour in the games was planned with Liam and the medical staff, so hopefully the injuries are behind me now.”
“In terms of Friday’s game, we’ll need to play well and make sure we’re fully concentrated throughout. If we do that, we can get a result. Cork had a great season last year and have a strong squad again this year so they’ll be challenging for honours again. But at home, we know if we play well, we have a chance.”
John Caulfield is no stranger to these fixtures, having suffered the late defeat last season in Richmond Park, as well as witnessing Colin Healy’s magnificent bicycle kick. However, as he has explained in his pre-match comments, he expects a tough game from the reigning FAI Cup holders.
“Last year we lost to a last minute goal up there, which was frustrating on the night. In the three games last year, we won one, drew one and lost one, so this year we are hoping that maybe we can get a better return.”
“They’re a top side, Liam Buckley is a super manager; they’ve won the league, they’ve won the cup and we will really have to be on form up there, because it is a really hard place to go and get a result.
“They are a really strong, passing team. They pass from the back, that is Liam’s philosophy, and they are really entertaining team to watch; they can cut you open down the wings or through the centre. It is very pleasing to the eye and you have to watch them,” Caulfield told corkcityfc.ie .
Colin Healy is a doubt, while Josh O’Shea is ruled out with a knock he picked up in Monday’s EA Sports Cup win over Waterford. Michael McSweeney and Liam Kearney are also doubts due to injuries in the same game.
Pundit Arena Prediction
Cork are a decent side, they are strong, and have no problem coming at teams. Despite being a Pat’s fan, it must be admitted that the Saints do not have the strongest back four, especially with the absence of Bermingham. Cork to edge it.
Cork City 2 – 1 St. Patrick’s Athletic
Referee: Derek Tomney
Assistants: Damien MacGraith & Wayne McDonnell
Fourth Official: David McKeon
Home 6/5; Draw 9/4; Away 9/4.
Peter Boyne, Pundit Arena