- Thursday September 22nd, 2011 @ 14:46
MAHON AIMS TO BREAK INTO TOP 3
St Patrick's Athletic travel to Oriel Park tomorrow to face Dundalk in the Airtricity League.
The Saints will be hoping to close the gap on the top 3 and ultimately to secure a European spot by the end of the season.
Pete Mahon has a long injury list with seven players receiving treatment this week. It is hoped that two or three will have recovered in time and will be available to feature if called upon.
"Our preparations for tomorrow's game haven't been ideal. We have a number of players injured which has impacted our training sessions this week. We are hoping two or three will have recovered, but we need to consider the impact the artificial pitch will have on them before making any decisions.
“Having said that, this is good opportunity for those who haven't featured recently to stake a claim for a starting place in the team for the remaining matches of the season.
“This is a really important game for us, as they all are between now and the end of the season.
“We want to break into the top 3 and to qualify for Europe through the league.
“We had a great win in Cork last week and we are now one step closer to the final in the Aviva Stadium, but our focus is on the League for the next few weeks.
“Obviously Dundalk will be bitterly disappointed following their defeat to Bohemians, and we are expecting a tough match tomorrow as they look to bounce back.
“It has been a very long and hard season for us. We have played more games than anyone else, which keeps the players fit, but it doesn't allow much time for recovery and to prepare for the next match.
“If we win tomorrow we will have picked up more points than last season and we are on course to score more goals than last season.
“It has been a great week for Danny (North) who became the proud father of a baby girl. As with any expecting parent he had a lot on his mind recently, but he scored two brilliant goals (against Shamrock Rovers and Cork City) which is a true sign of his quality and importance to this team.”
In the first game between the sides this season, Pats fell behind to 2 Mark Quigley goals. However, they rallied back to win 3-2 with a late winner from Dave Mulcahy (who was making his 100th appearance for the club). The other scorers were David and Evan McMillan.
In the first game played in Oriel Park, Dundalk again took the lead through an ex Saint when Colin Hawkins scored. However goals by Danny North and Ian Daly secured the points for Pats with a 2-1 win
The last tie between the sides again saw the sides come from behind, however this time they had to settle for a 2-2 draw. Derek Doyle opened the scoring for Pats, before goals from Mark Griffin and Keith Ward had Dundalk ahead. Doyle scored his second as the sides shared the points.
If Ian Bermingham plays in this game he will be making his 50th league appearance for Pats. The popular left back has sent off when the sides met in Richmond Park in September last year.
The Saints side contains 3 players who all played their part in winning the 2008 First Division trophy for Dundalk under manager John Gill (now, of course, Pete Mahon's right hand man); Derek Doyle, Chris Bennion and Paul Crowley.
Dundalk's top scorer Mark Quigley spent 4 season with Saints scoring 52 goals in 154 appearances. He won the PFAI Young Player for the year award in 2007 and was joint league top scorer in 2008.