- Wednesday July 20th, 2016 @ 16:49
Europa League Team News: SAINTS Vs Dinamo Minsk (1-1 Agg, 7.45pm)
St Patrick's Athletic host Belarusian side Dinamo Minsk on Thursday night in Richmond Park as they look to advance to the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round, kick-off in Inchicore is 7.45pm.
The Saints currently edge things on the away goal rule having drawn 1-1 in Minsk last week thanks to Christy Fagan's superb second half goal, his sixth goal for St Pat's in European competition.
Speaking to stpatsfc.com after his pre-match Europa League press conference, Saints' manager Liam Buckley admitted that both players and management were expecting a tougher test from Dinamo Minsk following last week's draw.
"Last week was a fantastic result and one we thoroughly merited. We restricted them to very few clear cut chances and when a big chance came our way, Christy managed to put it away. However we are all very much aware that the second leg will be a much more challenging game," Buckley said.
"Dinamo have to come here and score so they'll be pushing on to us. The players know to expect a higher level of performance from them so we're under no illusions that it will be a tough game.
That said though, we feel we can play better ourselves and if we can do that, hopefully we can create another one of those special nights in Inchicore.
"Tickets have been selling well so we hope to hear that 'Richmond Roar' tomorrow night getting behind the team from the very first whistle to the last."
Buckley is boosted with news that he has a full team to select from with no injuries or suspensions, meaning that both young midfielder Jack Bayly and goalkeeper Conor O'Malley are pushing for places.
Playing in European competition is nothing new to Saints' midfielder Billy Dennehy. The Tralee man previously made appearances for Cork City and Shamrock Rovers in the Europa League, the winger memorably having scored in the group stages of the competition for the Hoops in 2011 against PAOK Salonika.
Ahead of Thursday's game in Inchicore, Dennehy remains positive ahead of what is a challenge for the Saints.
"We're all really looking forward to the game," Dennehy told stpatsfc.com. "We know it's going to be another tough game as they may have underestimated us last week. But look, we all did our jobs in the first leg, it wasn't down to any individuals, it was a real team performance that earned us the result. If we can do that again, fingers crossed we can get over the line."
With the Saints having pulled off some famous European results in Richmond Park in recent years, the winger emphasised the importance of making things difficult for the opposition with a strong home support crucial to the Saints' hopes of progression.
"Any time you have a big home support behind the team, it always helps. When you hear the crowd behind you, it helps spur you on a little. If there's a difficult period in the game, that's when the vocal support of our fans can really make the difference so it's great to hear that there will be a big crowd at the game."
St Pat's supporters are encouraged to purchase their tickets in advance of the game from St Patrick's Athletic offices on Emmet Road, Inchicore; tickets are priced €15 for adults, €10 for Students/OAP's (pass required) and €5 for juveniles (U12).