- Sunday February 10th, 2013 @ 20:52
Preview: Saints V Glens
The long awaited return of football for Pats' fans is nearly over as Liam Buckley's side are back in action on Monday night against Irish League side Glentoran in the Setanta Sports Cup (k/o 7.30pm).
The game promises to be a tough opening to the 2013 season as The Glens have a good record against the Saints in previous Setanta ties.
In 2008 under the guidance of the late Alan McDonald, Glentoran were unlucky to draw 3-3 with the Saints – Pats coming back from a 3-1 deficit with two goals in the last 5 minutes – while the Belfast side claimed a 1-0 victory in the return fixture in The Oval.
For one of the Saints' recent new arrivals, midfielder Killian Brennan, the opportunity to claim a second winner's medal in the Setanta Sports Cup is something he is keen to achieve.
Ironically, Brennan's sole success in the competition came at the expense of the Saints as his corner found the head of Anto Murphy to score as Bohemians claimed a 1-0 victory in the 2010 Setanta Final.
However, following his move from Shamrock Rovers in the close season, Brennan is aiming to have a successful season with Pats and the Drogheda native admitted that both he and all the players were itching to get back to action and getting off to a positive start to the 2013 season.
"Yeah the lads are all looking forward to it," he told stpatsfc.com.
"There's always going to be a little bit of nerves with what is our first game, there a couple of new players coming in like myself, and it will depend on well we gel.
"But everything's gone well recently so hopefully it goes well on Monday.
"Every team wants to win the Setanta Sports Cup: with the teams from the Irish League playing in the competition as well, everyone wants to stamp their authority on the competition.
"There's a good rivalry there between the sides from the north and the south and it's normal that both teams want to have some bragging rights.”
Saints' manager Liam Buckley has a few selection issues ahead of Monday's clash as John Russell misses out through suspension following his red card in last year's opening round 2nd leg defeat to Cliftonville, while both Jake Kelly and Greg Bolger are doubts with thigh strains.
Despite Glentoran's mid-table position of sixth at present in the Irish League, Buckley believes The Glens are a much better side than their current position suggests.
"Glentoran will be a tough test for us on Monday as they play some great football at times.
"They're sixth at the moment with a game in hand, but they're definitely up there with the best sides in their league," Buckley told stpatsfc.com.
"I watched them last week against Portadown, they won 1-0 with 10 men and were very impressive.
"In a game with a lot of recognised players, especially for League of Ireland fans with the likes of Gary Twigg playing, they showed they are a very good side technically.
"We'll have to make sure our retention of the ball is very good as they will pose a serious test."
Liam Buckley's squad includes seven new signings: Conan Byrne, Shane McFaul, Killian Brennan, Jorda Keegan, Dave Ryan, Sean Gannon and Conor Murphy. McFaul and Keegan return to Richmond Park for their second spell.
DOUBTFUL: Jake Kelly, Greg Bolger (Both Thigh)