THE PENDULUM may have swung in their favour after twice coming from behind at Tallaght Stadium on Sunday, but Pete Mahon and his St Patrick’s Athletic players know with that comes pressure and expectation at Richmond Park tonight.
“There is loads of belief in the team now. We have a never-say-die attitude,” said David McAllister, man-of-the-match and St Patrick’s first goal scorer in Sunday’s 2-2 draw. “We’ve got a lot of late goals this season. So, no matter what happens (tonight), we’ll keep fighting to the end,” added the midfielder in reference to Paddy Kavanagh’s last-minute own goal which brought the need for this replay.
While Rovers’ peculiarly nervous current form, which has seen them victorious just twice in seven games since winning at Richmond Park in the league five weeks ago, may add to the optimism around Inchicore as they strive to end their 49-year quest for this cup, McAllister was quick to point out St Patrick’s aren’t exactly sprinting to the finishing line themselves this season.
“Our form hasn’t been great either. We’ve only had one win in this series of games. (But) I think the cup is a whole different scenario,” added the 21-year-old Dubliner who is a slight doubt tonight due to a thigh strain.
The first final at the rebuilt Lansdowne Road is a massive motivation, agreed McAllister.
“It’s huge – the first time the final is there. I’ve seen a few internationals there and it’s very impressive,” he said. “A few of the lads have played there already against (Manchester) United. It’s a brilliant stadium.”
Dave Mulcahy, who scored for the League of Ireland selection at the Aviva Stadium in that match against Manchester United, is manager Pete Mahon’s other injury concern having shipped a knock to a knee on Sunday. Captain Damian Lynch, free of suspension, is available again, however.
“As the home side there will now be a bit more expectation and pressure on ourselves,” said Mahon.
“I thought (on Sunday) we played well, especially after the first half-hour, and if we can play as we did in the second half then we’ve every chance of making it through.”
Though they’ve defenders Craig Sives and Danny Murphy back from suspension, Rovers have doubts over the availability of defender Pat Flynn (hamstring), midfielders Stephen Rice (knee), James Chambers (ankle) and Chris Turner (knee), along with striker Tommy Stewart (ankle). Dan Murray, Seán O’Connor and Pat Sullivan remain out with knee injuries.
“We’re disappointed that the tie has gone to a replay, as we felt we should have won (on Sunday),” said Rovers’ manager Michael O’Neill. “But that also gives me great faith in the lads – I know they can get the win on Tuesday night.
“We also have a good record at Richmond Park. We won the two games we played there this season. It will be a tough game, but we will be going there confident that we can get the win.”
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