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Dublin: 21 °C Wednesday 12 August, 2020

'Anybody out of the bottom seven or eight teams need to be looking over their shoulder'

St Pat’s are undefeated in their last five Premier Division games but remain just three points above the bottom three.

St Pat's boss Liam Buckley.
St Pat's boss Liam Buckley.
Image: Gary Carr/INPHO

FOLLOWING SLIGO ROVERS’ shock defeat of table-toppers Cork City, Liam Buckley said any side from the bottom eight in the Premier Division need to be cautious of getting dragged into the relegation battle.

His St Pat’s side earned their fourth win in five with a 4-0 deconstruction of Finn Harps on Friday, with relegation candidates Sligo causing an upset with a surprise 1-0 victory at Turners Cross — only Cork’s second defeat of the season.

“You only have to look at Sligo beating Cork tonight,” said Buckley.

“There are going to be some strange results over the next few weeks — anybody out of the bottom seven or eight teams need to be looking over their shoulder to make sure they don’t lose two or three games in a row.

“If you do you could be in serious trouble.”

St Pat’s led Ollie Horgan’s Harps by a one goal margin before a late Kurtis Byrne-inspired blitz completed an impressive 4-0 win –with two goals and an assist for the striker following his introduction after the interval.

Kyle Callan-McFadden celebrates after the game Relegation candidates Sligo stunned league leaders Cork with a 1-0 win at Turners Cross on Friday. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Buckley admitted the scoreline flattered his side slightly, but was satisfied with taking 13 points from a possible 15 since mid-July. “We just need to continue that run of form,” he said.

The Ballybofey club had beaten the Saints home and away already this season, 3-1 in Donegal and 2-1 at Richmond Park back in March.

“We gave two horrendous goals way in that game,” Buckley reflected. “Giving them a two goal head start is difficult because they are a good team with some decent players in their group.

“They are strong, athletic and have their own style. Tonight we just didn’t want to give away any mistakes of note, and I don’t think we did. The scoreline is probably a little bit flattering in fairness.”

Graham Kelly St Pat's have not been beaten in the Premier Division since 9 July. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

His side welcome Galway United to Richmond Park on Friday in the last 16 of the FAI Cup.

St Pat’s ended a 53 year hoodoo to win the cup in 2014, with Buckley intent on continuing the club’s record in the competition this season.

“We’ve got to put all our focus on Galway. Someone has to be in the quarter-final of the cup and we want it to be us.

“We’ve made two of the last five FAI Cup finals — it would be great to make it three in six.

“I’ve no doubt they will be coming up here thinking they have a chance against Pat’s.

“I wouldn’t say we should beat them without question — you have to earn your right to be in the quarter-finals. We’ve turned a corner with recent results, but I would still prefer the performances to be a little bit better.

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“You have to take each round on its merit and I’ve no doubt they will be coming down here thinking they’ve got a chance. They beat us up here earlier in the season.”

Owen Garvan Owen Garvan was brought to hospital following a challenge in the second half. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

In injury news striker Christy Fagan was ruled out of the Saints’ win on Friday with illness, while Owen Garvan departed with a gash to his shin following a late challenge which resulted in the player leaving Richmond Park in an ambulance.

“He got a tackle and had a cut on his shin. He went to hospital to get an x-ray and we are just hoping it’s not broken. We don’t think anything is broken but it is a bad gash,” said Buckley after the game.

Meanwhile defender Darren Dennehy is due to return to action within a fortnight following an operation earlier in the season which ruled him out for 12 weeks.

Buckley said: “Darren Dennehy had an operation on his ankle going back a few months. It took 12 weeks to get him right but now he is back in training and it’ll be either next week or the following week before he is ready to play again.”

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Aaron Gallagher

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