No rest for fatigued Pat’s heroes

MCDOWELL’S pub in Inchicore rose in acclamation of Pete Mahon when the St Patrick’s Athletic boss popped in after his side’s win against Shakhter Karagandy on Thursday night.

But there has been little time for further celebration as it’s straight back to the bread and butter stuff for the local heroes this evening when they travel to the Showgrounds to take on Airtricity League leaders Sligo Rovers (7.45pm).

Sligo, like Pat’s, are facing a Europa League assignment in the Ukraine next week but the Dublin side are the ones going into today’s game with the wearier legs. The good news for Pats is that skipper Conor Kenna starts his first game since March following a long-term knee injury. And his presence may be vital as both Brian Shortall and Derek Pender picked up knocks on Thursday and are doubts. Otherwise the Saints have a full squad to choose from with Anthony Murphy, Dave Mulcahy and David McMillan all set to feature after coming off the bench against Karagandy.

“We’re going to have to switch things around because you can’t ask all the same players to play again 48 hours later,” says Mahon. “The European game took a lot out of us both mentally and physically. When you see other clubs in Europe having games called off then it is a bit annoying.”

Rovers have no injury concerns and, after hitting Galway for eight last week, manager Paul Cook is looking forward to the clash. “Pat’s obviously had a game on Thursday night and it is a very quick turnaround,” he concedes. “But that doesn’t automatically gives us an easy basis to win the game and I’m sure Pete Mahon will do all he can to keep his team fresh.’’

In the First Division, Cork City will be looking to keep up their promotion push when they play Longford Town at Flancare Park (7.30pm).

City boss Tommy Dunne admitted: “This is a hugely important game for both sides. Flancare Park is always a difficult place to get a result, and they have improved a lot since last season. But at this point in the season it is time to be positive and go out to win games.”

Gavin Kavanagh returns to the squad following a three match suspension, while Dunne is hopeful that injury worries Graham Cummins (knee), O’Halloran (hamstring), and midfielder Shane Duggan (groin), will all be available.

Meanwhile Airtricity League XI manager Damien Richardson has announced a reduced squad of 21 players for next week’s Dublin Super Cup tournament.

AIRTRICITY LEAGUE SQUAD: G Doherty (Derry City), B Murphy (Bohemians), O Heary (Bohemians), S Madden (Dundalk), D Lafferty (Derry City), D Murphy (Cork City), S Greacen (Derry City), S McEleney (Derry City), C Hawkins (Dundalk), A Price (Bohemians), G O’Brien (Bohemians), G McGlynn (Derry City), D Kearns (Dundalk), S Mclaughlin (Derry City), B Molloy (Derry City), D Bennett (Dundalk), J Gamble (Limerick FC), R Higgins (Derry City), J McLean (Derry City), D Kavanagh (St Patrick’s Athletic), E Zayed (Derry City).

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