• Tue, Feb 23, 2010 @ 18:33

St Pats kick off their Setanta Cup campaign this Friday at Richmond Park when they face a Linfield team who are currently flying high near the top of the IFA Carling Premiership.

The Setanta Sports Cup pits the top sides in Irish football on both sides of the border against each other and the Saints face stiff opposition against the Belfast side who won the inaugural competition back in 2005.

“Linfield are tough to play against at the best of times”, said Pat's captain Damien Lynch “we beat them 2-0 at Richmond Park in 2008 but this time they hold the advantage of having their season well up and running while ours has yet to start”.

Lynch is just one of four players from last season's side who are part of a new look Saints squad in 2010 “in truth we'd probably have liked a few more games under our belt before facing a match like this but it's a test we'll definitely be up for”.

“Pre-season has gone well, we're looking solid at the back and we had a good 3-1 win on Monday night out at Bray which hopefully should stand to us”, added Lynch.

A holder of two Setanta Cup winner's medals Lynch is looking forward to the start of the cross border competition “the nature of games like these make it a bit special, in effect you're not only representing your club you're also representing your league.”

While it would be nice to complete a hat-trick of Setanta Cup winners' medals Lynch is not looking that far ahead “to be honest our focus is to get a good result on Friday, the last time we played them in the group stages we beat them at home and drew with them away so I'd settle for a hat-trick of good performances against them for now”.

Linfield boss David Jeffrey brings his side to Richmond Park, having won five of their last eight games in all competitions.

The Blues have recently boosted their side with the re-signing of ‘Pistol' Pete Thompson, a prolific goal scorer who holds an impressive record for Linfield, scoring 152 goals in 234 games before he left to join Stockport County.

Since his return in January 2010, Thompson has hit the net six times in seven games.

Another ‘Blues'player to watch is new loan signing Christopher Casement, who joins the Belfast side following spells at Ipswich Town, Millwall and current club Dundee United.

The defender made his Northern Ireland debut against Italy in a friendly back in June 2009.

St. Pats V Linfield F.C. kicks off at 7.35pm in Richmond Park this Friday 26th February.

Tickets are on sale from the club shop on Emmet Road.

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