- Thursday April 19th, 2012 @ 12:07
Saints Face UCD On Friday
Liam Buckley's Saints welcome UCD to Richmond Park this Friday as the Saints aim to extend their unbeaten start to the season and move into the top three of the Airtricity League Premier Division.
Following last Friday's 0-0 draw with Drogheda United, the Saints will be looking for a repeat of their recent EA Sports Cup victory over the Students, a game which saw the Inchicore side claim a 2-1 victory thanks to goals from Sean O'Connor and Ian Daly.
While the Students have had several victories in recent years over Pats in the Belfield Bowl and in the old Belfield ground, their record in Inchicore is the complete opposite as UCD are now eleven years without a league win in Richmond Park.
On that occasion in November 2001, UCD claimed the points thanks to goals from current Republic of Ireland U19 manager Paul Doolin and Robbie Martin in a 2-1 win, a game in which current UCD manager Martin Russell lined out for the Saints.
Following last week's hard fought game against Drogheda United, Saints' captain Conor Kenna, who played with the Students for five seasons, has emphasised the need for the Saints to return to winning ways as quickly as possible after dropping two points last Friday.
"While UCD will be tough opponents, we're looking to bounce back with three points,” the Saints' skipper told STPATSFC.COM.
“We kept another clean sheet against Drogheda, so if we can push on, hopefully we'll get the win."
Another man who knows the UCD set-up well is Saints' midfielder Greg Bolger.
The Wexford man burst onto the domestic scene with UCD, and admits that he looks back fondly on his time at the club and cites the current UCD manager as having played a major role in his own development.
“Yeah I'd recommend the club to any young player who's trying to make a name for themselves as, football wise, you won't get a better education anywhere else.
"I know I wouldn't be half the player I am if it wasn't for Martin Russell because I learned so much from him.
"With coaches like Diarmuid McNally there as well, it's a great club for young players.”
Bolger, who played 45 minutes against UCD in the EA Sports Cup clash last week, knows that the Students will be no pushovers on Friday having pushed the Saints all the way up to the 90th minute last week.
“They do a lot of conditioning work up in the Sports Science gym, so they'll be really fit and won't stop running and will play again for the full 90 minutes.
"But we're back in Inchicore after last week's disappointing draw, so we'll be a force and hopefully we'll get a win under our belts.”
Speaking to STPATSFC.COM ahead of the game, Liam Buckley was full of praise of the work Martin Russell has done at UCD, while also confirming that he had no injury worries ahead of Friday night's game.
"Martin continues to work wonders at UCD and he must really be commended for the work he does year in and year out.
"Like ourselves, UCD try to keep the ball on the ground and play attractive football.
"We know that they'll really put it up to us having played against them recently, so it should make for an entertaining game.”