Saints’ Euro heroes bid to close on Rovers

JUDGING by the number of times he was name-checked in the post-game analysis, you’d swear that Borat had been man of the match after St Patrick’s Athletic knocked IBV of Iceland out of the Europa League in Inchicore on Thursday night.

Asked about the prospect of journeying to Kazakhstan for Thursday’s next round game against Karandy, striker Daryl Kavanagh said: “I didn’t think it was a real place until now! I thought it was just in the movies.

“The lads were having a bit of craic saying they were going to get Borat costumes. But in all seriousness, Pete [Mahon] and John [Gill] were saying: ‘Lads, it doesn’t matter where you go, it will always be great memories. But you’re not going over there for a holiday, you’re going to win’.’’

In truth, Pats know that they face a tough task both logistically and on the pitch as they embark on a 10,000km journey which will require a minimum of six flights to get there and back.

“It will be a great adventure and we will be looking to go through again like we did on Thursday,” says Kavanagh. “But our first concern is Dundalk on Sunday and we need to look forward to that first and take Kazahkstan as it comes. Dundalk is a big game and it is important for us to be looking at the league.’’

Manager Pete Mahon has already expressed the fear that their heavy toll of games could effectively cost his team a shot at the title but, needless to say, Pats will be hosting the Lilywhites at Richmond Park tomorrow afternoon (3pm kick-off) with every intention of keeping the pressure on leaders Shamrock Rovers.

Pats are without the suspended Stephen Bradley while Dundalk have allowed defender Shane Guthrie return to Inchicore following a six-month loan spell so he could face the Lilywhites tomorrow. Dundalk must plan without long-term injured pair, Eoghan Osborne (fractured tibia) and Stephen McDonnell (knee), while Colin Hawkins serves a one-match ban. Jason Byrne (hamstring) is rated doubtful.

Today, in the Airtricity League Premier Division, Sligo Rovers host Drogheda United at the Showgrounds (7.45pm kick-off) on the back of just one league defeat in their last 10 games while, in the First Division, Longford Town will be looking to end a five-game winless streak when they host Finn Harps in a 3.30pm kick off at Flancare Park.

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