(Credit: Michael P Ryan)

League Preview: St Patrick's Athletic -v- Cork City
Published: October 20, 2017

ST. PATRICK’S ATHLETIC

Although their recent league form has been an improvement, St. Patrick’s Athletic are still mired in a relegation dogfight as they welcome newly crowned SSE Airtricity League champions Cork City to what’s likely to be a packed Richmond Park on Friday evening (kick off 7.45pm).

 

With two league games to play, Liam Buckley’s men currently sit eighth in the Premier Division table, but their position is still precarious. The Saints are ahead of Galway United by just a single point with Galway  in the relegation zone and only a superior goal difference sees the Saints sit above Sligo Rovers in the table.

 

Of the three, Sligo would arguably appear to have the easier run-in, on paper at least. St. Pat’s will be anxious to get something from their last home game of the season, with a tricky away assignment looming against Derry City next week.  

 

“Friday is another big game for us.  We are welcoming the league champions to Richmond Park, but more importantly from our side of things, everyone is 100% focused on getting the three points," said St. Pat’s manager Liam Buckley when speaking to stpatsfc.com.

 

Buckley hailed his side’s performance against their fellow relegation strugglers at Eamonn Deacy Park last week when a superb Billy Dennehy volley earned the Inchicore side a vital away draw. “We battled really hard last week against a Galway team that played well, and we were unlucky not to come away with the three points. 

Buckley’s attention quickly switched to the invasion of the Rebel Army to the capital in a week where they finally wrapped up the title. They will be hoping maybe the City team are still in celebration mode.

 

“That said, we didn’t dwell on it and all this week our focus has been on preparing to face Cork. It’s our last home game of the season and we want to end on a high by getting the points as our supporters have been fantastic all season in getting behind the team and encouraging them.  I know they’ll be there backing us all the way again come 7.45 p.m. on Friday and hopefully we can get a positive result.”

 

CORK CITY

The Leesiders arrive at Richmond Park secure in the knowledge that the third league title in the club’s history is finally in the bag after successive scoreless draws against Bohemians and Derry City. The Rebel Army may have one eye on another trip to Dublin on November 5th, to face arch rivals Dundalk in the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup Final.

 

City boast a 100% record over St. Pats in the league this year. The Leesiders have also kept two league clean sheets against the Inchicore men, winning 3-0 at Richmond Park in April before grinding out a 1-0 verdict at Turner’s Cross in July. City also knocked holders St. Pat’s out of this season’s EA Sports Cup, winning 2-0 in Cork in May. Only one of those six goals were scored by the departed Seánie Maguire who still sits top of the league scorer table.

 

After the euphoria of finally clinching the league title before the home hordes on Tuesday, the pre-match indications from Cork City are that some changes are in the offing.

 

Speaking to the media ahead of the trip to Dublin, City manager John Caulfield said: “We know it is a massive game for St. Pat’s, but we have just won the league and we want to give a good account of ourselves. We want a good performance and we are going out to win the game.”

 

Caulfield reflected on a profitable league campaign for his charges, which culminated in getting the job done in an uninspiring stalemate with Derry City on Tuesday evening. “I felt that we would do well this year. While you put standards in place and you try to drive the team on, you still need the players to cross the white line and do the business. Thankfully, this year, the boys have been phenomenal, and they deserve everything they get.”

 

It would appear that the likes of Robbie Williams, former Saint Greg Bolger, Connor Ellis and Achille Campion could see game time against St. Pats. City fans’ hero Steven Beattie will definitely miss out, due to a groin strain. “Everyone that goes out on the pitch tomorrow night will be a league winner and there will be an onus on them to go out and perform to their best. We will make a few changes because there are a few guys with knocks and a few who are exceptionally tired.”

 

Referee: Robert Hennessy

 

 

MATCH STATS

St Patrick’s Athletic’s last home league victory over Cork City was just over a year ago when Liam Buckley’s team severely dented City’s already wilting title aspirations. Christy Fagan, Sam Verdon and Conan Byrne were the goalscorers in a 3-1 victory. Alan Bennett replied for the visitors.

 

Conan Byrne and Kurtis Byrne are St. Pat’s’ joint top scorers with nine goals. Of the players still in their squad, Karl Sheppard heads the Cork City goalscoring charts with nine. 

 

In 36 league meetings at Richmond Park, St. Pat’s have won 15, Cork City 12 and there have been nine draws.  St. Pat’s have scored 46 times in those matches and Cork City 48.

 

BETTING

St. Patrick’s Athletic 10/11; Cork City 13/5; Draw 14/5.

 

PREDICTION

St. Patrick’s Athletic 1-1 Cork City

 

Cork City 

Injured: Steven Beattie, Johnny Dunleavy and Alec Byrne.

Doubtful: Alan Bennett, Kieran Sadlier, Karl Sheppard.

Suspended: None.

 

St. Patrick’s Athletic 

Injured: Darren Dennehy.

Doubtful: None.

Suspended: Graham Kelly.

 

 


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John Manning

John Manning began writing for Extratime.ie this year after retiring from the insurance industry. He has been a regular attendee at League of Ireland football matches since the 1970s. He has particularly supported Cork Hibs, Cork Celtic, Cork United, Cork City but has attended many other matches also.

He was formerly Webmaster of the Pitch and Putt Union of Ireland website (www.ppui.ie) to which he still contributes. He is currently Webmaster of the International Pitch and Putt Association website (www.fippa.org).

John broadcast Pitch and Putt on the airwaves from 1994 to 2005 – on CKR, KFM, KCLR FM, Midlands Radio 3, Radio Kerry and Cork 103 FM.

John held many administrative posts within the sport of Pitch and Putt
· Treasurer Pitch and Putt Union of Ireland 1992-93
· Public Relations Officer Pitch and Putt Union of Ireland 1994 – 2005
· General Secretary European Pitch and Putt Association 2000 - 2010

John Manning was the Editor of ‘Backspin’ – official monthly magazine of the Pitch and Putt Union of Ireland – between 1989 and 2005. He still currently contributes to ‘Backspin’.

He is a fervent supporter of the Republic of Ireland football team – home and sometimes away.

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