- Thursday October 25th, 2012 @ 21:08
Saints Look To Secure Euro Spot
The league season comes to a conclusion as Cork City are the visitors to Richmond Park this Friday in the Saints' final home game of 2012.
A competitive game is expected as both sides require a win to secure their respective end of season targets.
For Liam Buckley's side, a win would ensure qualification for next year's Europa League and possibly secure second place in the league.
By contrast a win in Inchicore for the Rebels could ensure qualification for next year's Setanta Cup and fifth place in the final league standings.
The two previous clashes between the sides this season have also been tight affairs with Cork earning a point in Richmond Park in a 1-1 draw back in May, while the Saints edged a close match in Turner's Cross thanks to a second half goal from Christy Fagan in August.
However the Rebels results in Richmond Park in recent times have been positive as their last 3 league fixtures has seen them claim two wins and a draw.
The Saints meanwhile have to go back to May 2008 for their last victory against Cork in Inchicore as a late Keith Fahey free-kick secured a 3-2 victory.
For Saints' manager Buckley, as he admitted to stpatsfc.com, he expects Cork to be a tough test for his side as has been in the case in earlier clashes between the sides in the season.
“We've seen in the games earlier in the season, the drawn match in Richmond and the narrow win in Turners Cross, Cork are a very good side.”
“We expect this to be the case on Friday again as both sides will be hoping to sign off the season with a win.
From our point of view, we've been on the road a lot lately and it's good to be back in Richmond Park.
It's our last game in Inchicore this year and we'll be doing everything to finish on a high and get the three points for our home support which has been great this season.”
Pats welcome Sean O'Connor back into contention for a starting place having served a one match ban, while Ian Bermingham has recovered from an illness picked up late last week.
Midfielder Greg Bolger will undergo a late fitness test on an ankle injury, while the Saints will be without the services of Darren Meenan (shoulder), Mark Rossiter (knee) and Barry Murphy (ankle).
With the opportunity of finishing in second place still a possibility, Saints' skipper Conor Kenna told stpatsfc.com that the squad were keen to bounce back from their recent losses away from home against Sligo Rovers and Derry City with a win on Friday, while he also admitted his eagerness to end the season with a win for the fans.
“We've had some tough games against Cork this season and this game will be no different as it'll be really tight.
Cork are trying to secure a Setanta Cup spot, and we're looking to finish second, so it's worked out well in that we've a lot to play for at this time of the year.”
“We've been working all week on the Cork game in training, working on how they are going to play and what we can do to counteract them.
It would be great to give the fans a win in our final home game of the season as their support has been great all year.”