Find a page

Defeat may end Saints' title hopes
22 May 2015 15:03
St Patrick’s Athletic v Dundalk, 7.45pm
-
The pressure is on fifth-placed St Patrick’s Athletic as they welcome SSE Airtricity Premier Division leaders Dundalk to Richmond Park tonight.
-
The Saints have slipped 13 points behind the pacesetters and defeat would likely put an end to their title hopes for the season.
-
Pat’s had been showing signs of form prior to the shock reverse to Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds last weekend and will see tonight as an opportunity to kick-start their season, with another crunch fixture to come next weekend in the FAI Cup against Shamrock Rovers.
-
Ger O'Brien is ruled out with injury but in a timely boost, last year’s leading scorer Christy Fagan has returned to training and should feature after a six-week lay off.
-
Saints manager Liam Buckley said: "Dundalk have been excellent to date and have been very impressive in some matches. We know it'll be a tough game, but we'll prepare for the match as we would any other game and take it on its merits.
-
“From our end of things, we're trying to take it a game at a time."
-
Dundalk, meanwhile, had to grind out a 1-0 win over Derry City last week in a game the league leaders were expected to win comfortably.
-
A late deflected strike from John Mountney was enough for all three points and they followed it up with a 5-0 success over UCC in the EA Sports Cup on Monday.
-
Stephen Kenny will be without centre-half Brian Gartland once again as he recovers from a tear in his hamstring while captain Stephen O’Donnell is a doubt with an Achilles tendon injury having missed the win over UCC.
-
Sean Gannon is available for selection as he served his suspension and manager Kenny is likely to revert to the usual starting XI.
-
Kenny said: “It was a frustrating evening for us last week against Derry but we showed great character to get the win that we pushed for. It’s a brilliant three points for us. We have shown that we can score late and it’s great to have that capacity.
-
“We have some great quality in the squad and strength in depth. We have a good home record and Derry City tried to make it difficult for us but we got there in the end and three points is all that matters.
-
“Since I have come to the club, the matches against St Pat’s have always been so tough, especially at Richmond Park. They have been really close games.
-
“They play good football like ourselves and they will give us a really good game. Hopefully it will be a good spectacle for fans like there has been through the past few seasons and hopefully we can come out the right side of it.”
-
-
-
Cork City v Shamrock Rovers, 7.45pm
-
Shamrock Rovers will face a big test of their unbeaten run in the Premier Division when they travel to Turner’s Cross to take on Cork City.
-
Despite avoiding defeat in the 13 matches so far in the league, Rovers trail City going into this clash, with six draws to their name so far.
-
Cork will be aiming to make it four league wins in succession and have six wins out of seven at Turner’s Cross this season.
-
The sides last met in March at Tallaght, where they played out a scoreless draw.
-
With Dundalk travelling to take on St Patrick’s Athletic tonight, it’s a pivotal fixture for the teams looking to catch the Lilywhites at the head of the table.
-
Striker Danny North is Shamrock Rovers chief absentee otherwise Hoops boss Pat Fenlon has a full deck to choose from.
-
City boss John Caulfield, meanwhile, is expecting a big turnout at the Cross: “We have bounced back, getting three wins in the space of a week. Obviously we are expecting a huge crowd; it is two teams near the top of the table, both with an eye on winning it and certainly keeping the pressure on Dundalk, so it is a huge game.
-
“Under Pat Fenlon, Rovers have changed their style, so it will be a difficult game but we are really looking forward to it.”
-
“It’s going to be a very tight game. They have played 13 games and only conceded two goals away from home, so that shows their intention to keep things very tight.
-
“They will feel that they can’t come to Cork and not get a result, but we are at home in front of our own supporters and we have a very good home record. We have scored 20 goals at home (in seven games), so I am hoping that we are going to be good enough to open them up and get the result.”
-
Alan Bennett has returned to training after a hamstring injury, and the defender will be assessed closer to kick-off.
-
Danny Morrissey, who was stretchered off in Tuesday’s EA Sports Cup game against St Pat’s, is ruled out, though there is hope that his injury is not as bad as originally feared. Kieran Djilali and John Dunleavy are definitely out, with both sidelined as a result of knee injuries.
-
Bohemians v Bray, 7.45pm
-
Bohemians boss Keith Long has a number of injury problems going into the fixture with Trevor Croly’s Bray Wanderers.
-
Goalkeeper Dean Delany is suspended following his late red card in the league game against Galway. Bohs have fitness concerns over Derek Pender, Anto Murphy, Dave Mulcahy, Dean Kelly, and Paddy Kavanagh, who will all be assessed before tonight's game.
-
Long is hopeful his players can bounce back from a disappointing weekend in Galway where they lost a league fixture 5-3 and exited the EA Sports Cup after extra time.
-
"We were disappointed. From our point of view it was a drop from the level the players have set for themselves this season. We made mistakes and were punished - you can't afford to do that in any game," said Long.
-
"It's one of those things that can happen in football, you can have an off night. But we have to put it behind us, we have to learn the lessons from Friday and ensure that we put in an improved performance against Bray at home.
-
"The onus is on us to go out and win the game, and that's the way we approach it. But we know Bray will be a tough game. They're scrapping for points, and there's no easy games in this league.
-
"I expect Bray to be well-organised. I watched them last week [against St Pat's] and they defended very well. Obviously a new manager brings new ideas, a new voice in the dressing room, and their players will get a bounce from that."
-
It was a dream start for new boss Croly last weekend as Bray defied odds of 15/1 to topple St Patrick’s Athletic in the Carlisle Grounds for a 1-0 victory which saw the Seagulls move five points clear of bottom club Limerick.
-
Niall Cooney and Dave Scully face late fitness tests as Wanderers’ expect to field an unchanged side from that that beat Pat’s.
-
-
-
Derry City v Sligo Rovers, 7.45pm
-
Both managers will be desperate for a win in The Brandywell as Derry City meet Sligo Rovers in a mid-table encounter.
-
Peter Hutton and Owen Heary have been under scrutiny in recent weeks as the top five teams pulled away from the North-West sides following some poor results.
-
There have been glimmers of hope in the last week. Hutton’s Derry side gave a spirited performance as they came close to leaving Dundalk with a point, before a late John Mountney goal.
-
However, the Candystripes failed to build on that after a 1-0 home defeat to Shamrock Rovers in the EA Sports Cup on Tuesday.
-
Heary, meanwhile, finally led his side to a home win as a Dinny Corcoran double was enough to dispose of Drogheda United in the league last weekend.
-
There are just two points between the teams going into the fixture.
-
Derry City captain Ryan McBride will miss out due to a hamstring problem.
-
The defender could be sidelined for three weeks with the injury while Gerard Doherty (back) and Philip Lowry (knee) are rated doubtful.
-
The Bit o’Red will enter the game without captain David Cawley as the midfielder is suspended having received five yellow cards so far this season.
-
As well as Cawley, Jeff Henderson and Jake Dykes will again be out with foot and hamstring injuries respectively.
-
Heary wants to see his build on last week’s performance and result against Drogheda United.
-
“We are still working on different things to improve all the time at training, we are by no means the finished article yet. We need to hold the ball better and get it down and play more.
-
“Last week free-kicks and corners were not very good so we will be looking to improve on that. But in general our passing was good and we kept a clean sheet. That is a positive that we need to build on and keep up.
-
“It should be quite a similar game to the other two so far this season. The beat us in the EA Sports Cup in extra-time after we had went down to ten men.
-
“Before that in the league we drew 1-1 but it was a game I thought we deserved the three points from. So I think this game will be no different to those. They are a good team, Barry McNamee is a very good player going either way and they are defensively strong so it will be tight.
-
“But we will be hoping to get the three points from us which would push us up ahead of Derry in the table.”
-
-
-
Drogheda v Galway, 7.45pm
-
Drogheda manager Johnny McDonnell bemoaned the injury and suspension crisis which meant that Drogheda were without six senior players for their 2-0 defeat at Sligo last weekend.
-
“When you’re missing that many players in a tight squad, it was always going to be difficult,” the Dubliner admitted.
-
“We conceded at the absolute worst times in a match, early on and then right before half-time which gave us too much to do.
-
“I can’t ask for anything more from the players as they gave it their all and kept pushing until the end. It just wasn’t going to be our night. The three games in eight days certainly didn’t help us but it’s time to move on and look towards the Galway game.
-
“Galway have been scoring plenty of goals recently so I think keeping their front players quiet will be the key for us and ideally we’ll come away with a clean sheet.
-
“I don’t think there is much between the sides but they are full of confidence so we’ll need to be at our best to get a result.”
-
Stephen Maher and Neil Yadolahi have returned to training following injury and will be available for selection along with Lloyd Buckley who has overcome the flu.
-
Alan Byrne, Shane Dunne and Daryl Kavanagh are all available as any subsequent suspensions as a result of their red cards in Cork will carry into next week.
-
Cathal Brady is the only absentee with a hamstring injury.
-
In-form Galway United travel to Drogheda on Friday, buoyed by breaking into the top six of the league.
-
The Tribesmen have kept three clean sheets in their last five outings.
-
Tommy Dunne’s men have picked up six wins from their of their last nine games, with clinching a place in the EA Sports Cup on Monday night adding to a fantastic run of results.
-
"We've tried to go and attack games and be positive," said Dunne.
-
"We've improved in all aspects of our game. Friday's league game against Bohemians was open, Monday's game was more cagey and measured. I was pleased with our performances in both games.
-
"The players pushed themselves and gave everything. I'm hoping that physically, those games didn't take their toll on them and that we can go again and pick up another positive result at United Park.
-
"Against Bohemians, we were strong against a team who are doing very well. We're aiming to go again at United Park on Friday evening and keep our run going."
-
Sam Oji is still recovering from a hip problem and is expected to return to action next week.
-
Kevin Garcia was forced off with injury against Bohemians in Monday’s win against the Gypsies because of a heavy knock to his knee and will miss out tonight.
-
A number of players have returned from periods out injured, including Jason Molloy, Alex Byrne, Ger Hanley, Marc Ludden and Conor Barry, and are all in contention for the Drogs clash.
-
Enda Curran (hamstring) was not risked against Bohemians on Monday night and remains a doubt against the Boynesiders.
-

Where can I get RTÉ Aertel Digital?

RTÉ Aertel Digital is an enhanced digital version of the RTÉ Aertel teletext service. It functions in the same way as the analogue service, offering current news, sport and weather updates but is now more agile and easier to use.

RTÉ Aertel Digital is available on Saorview, the new free digital TV service in Ireland.
Press TEXT button on your remote to launch Aertel from RTÉ One, RTÉ Two, RTÉ News Now.