- Thursday May 31st, 2012 @ 14:46
The Saints make their first visit in 10 years to Gortakeegan this Friday as they travel in search of three points against Monaghan United.
The Saints last league game against ‘The Mons' away from home saw them run out 4-0 winners, goals from Ger McCarthy (2), Robbie Griffin and Philly Hughes (a former Monaghan player) securing the points for Pat Dolan's side in March 2002.
However Monaghan go into Friday's game on the back of three impressive results in their last three games. After securing a 2-1 away victory against Dundalk, Monaghan held Champions Shamrock Rovers to a scoreless in Gortakeegan.
Roddy Collins' side then followed that up with an impressive 3-1 FAI Cup win against Sligo Rovers.
Last week's result against Sligo not only meant ‘The Mons' were the first side to defeat the Bit o' Red at the Showgrounds in 2012, but it also ended their two year unbeaten record in the FAI Cup.
However as Saints' manager Liam Buckley told stpatsfc.com, while Monaghan may sit at the bottom of the Airtricity league, there was no chance they would be underestimated by his side.
“We're expecting a tough game from Monaghan. They have had some great results lately so that just shows you how well they're playing at the moment.
We'd a tough game against them earlier in the season in what turned out to be an exciting 1-1 draw, and it's likely to be another good game up there. We're looking to get the points as we really want to finish this part of the season on a high and go into the break.”
In team news, Buckley confirmed that no injuries were picked up following the Saints' 3-0 win over Crumlin United in the FAI Cup last weekend.
Mark Rossiter's knee injury will keep him sidelined for the season, while James Chambers continues to make progress from his knee injury, with Buckley reporting the midfielder is on course to return after the mid-season break in late June.
For Saints' winger Darren Meenan, the Monaghan game is a chance to put recent disappointing league results behind them and look to cement his place in the starting line-up having returned from a shoulder injury last week in the FAI Cup.
“Yeah it was good to be back last week after picking up the injury in training. I'd only just got into the team and then I picked up the shoulder problem so I was unlucky that way. But it was good to play against Crumlin, and hopefully now we're only another four wins away from playing in the Aviva at the end of the season.”
Gortakeegan is familiar ground to the former Northern Ireland U21 International, Meenan having played with Monaghan for a year a half while Mick Cooke was in charge.
The Saints' winger paid tribute to the fine job the staff at Monaghan continue to do and admitted that he was expecting a tough challenge from Roddy Collins' side.
“Jim McGlone is Chairman up there and he's doing a great job with the club on a shoestring budget as he always seemed to have them up there or thereabouts In the First Division, and now they're deservedly in the Premier.”
“Monaghan play a different formation to most teams, so they are capable of beating teams as Roddy Collins always has them well organised. But we try and win every game and that won't change on Friday. Getting the three points and finishing with a win before the break would be great.”