- Thursday October 23rd, 2008 @ 13:04
PATS READY FOR SEMI TEST
A bumper crowd is expected in Inchicore on Friday as St Patrick's Athletic look to progress to their second FAI Cup Final in three years.
The Saints have already dispatched of Longford Town, Wexford Youths and Sporting Fingal in this season's competition but newly crowned league champions Bohemians will provide a stiffer test for John McDonnell's men as they continue their hunt for a trophy this season.
The Saints squad have been decimated by injuries in recent weeks and that list grew longer during Monday night's game with Galway United when Dessie Byrne injured his hamstring ruling him out for the rest of the season.
Byrne joins Stephen Paisley, Gary O'Neill (both groin), John Murphy (back) and Bobby Ryan (knee) on the list of long term absentees.
McDonnell is also likely to be without top scorer top scorer Mark Quigley (knee) while Derek O'Brien and Jason Gavin are cup tied having played for Galway United and Drogheda United respectively in previous rounds.
18 year old Stephen Fitzpatrick may play some part after impressive performances following his recent promotion from the club's youth section.
One player who will take his place in the starting line-up for the Saints is midfielder Keith Fahey and he told stpatsfc.com that he is looking forward to Friday's encounter.
“I've been waiting for this game since the draw was made. It's a massive game and in many ways it's make or break for us for the season.
“It's unfortunate that that's the case because we did well for so much of the season but tomorrow night is our focus now.
“There's a big crowd expected too and the players will be up for it.”
Saints boss John McDonnell enjoyed two league successes at Pats as a player in the nineties but has yet to get his hands on the Cup as a player or a manager.
Speaking today he said that tomorrow's game is a massive occasion.
“We've played them three times already this season, we've won once and they beaten us twice so we definitely want to level it up.
“It's a cup semi-final, games don't come much bigger that this and we're really looking forward to it”.
Tickets for Friday's game are still available from Richmond Park but are selling quickly. Supporters are asked to note the earlier kick off time of 7.35 and to purchase tickets as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.