LOI reaction: Dunne and Buckley regret missed opportunity

The two managers were both somewhat dissatisfied following last night’s 0-0 draw between Pat’s and Cork.

Buckley suggested Pat's failed to play to their potential.
Buckley suggested Pat's failed to play to their potential.

BOTH MANAGERS WERE left with a nagging feeling of what might have been, after St Patrick’s Athletic and Cork City played out a 0-0 draw at Richmond Park last night.

St Pat’s went into game as favourites, having been unbeaten in their last ten league games, while Cork City were left to rue Tadhg Purcell’s second-half penalty miss, which would have put them in pole position to secure a surprise victory.

Speaking after the game, St Pat’s manager Liam Buckley conceded that his side had been well below their best, but claimed he was relatively satisfied with the result, saying:

“It’s a point gained – at the end of the season, there’ll be a point between second, third and fourth, or close to that, so every point you get I see as a point gained and bearing in mind, they’ve missed a penalty and hit the woodwork. I thought we were probably down a few gears in relation to the last few weeks, but having said that, I think a draw was probably a fair result. We had quite a bit of the play and they had one or two chances themselves.”

Buckley also admitted he was impressed by the visitors’ performance:

“They’re a good side. They pass the ball well. They worked hard and have good players. The lads in the middle like Morrissey did really well,” he said. “I thought they performed well – especially in the first half, they had to sit back at times and try to get a proper defensive line.”

He emphasised that it was the performance from his side, rather than the result, that disappointed him, explaining how he was not overly concerned with the two points dropped:

“Look, we’re only a third into the season. If someone said we’d be in the top 3 with ten games to go at the start of the season, I would have bit the hand off them. Keep in mind, we’ve a brand new group, though there’s two or three playing from last year – like Conor Kenna and Ian Bermingham.”

He continued: “Having said that, we are looking for consistency. If you’d seen our recent games, you’d know we were just down a few gears this evening.”

Buckley also explained his reasoning behind playing star youngster Chris Forrester in a more central role than usual.

“I think you’ll get more out of him in there with his ability and balance,” he said. “I thought Chrisy did okay today. He’s been struggling with his throat all week, but that’s not an excuse.”

And while Buckley acknowledged that continuing to challenge for honours was a tough ask, he expressed optimism that the side would be capable of maintaining their excellent early-season form:

“You can’t look outside Sligo and Shamrock Rovers, we’d have said that at the start of the season. They’re more or less full time. They’re signing players, for their training schedule, they can do what they please. But if you mix it with them, you give yourself a chance, and we are mixing with them.

“And if we can get more people coming in the gate, who see us as challengers, that’d be even better.”

(Dunne said he was “happy overall” with his side’s performance - INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan)

His opposite number, Tommy Dunne, was similarly left with mixed emotions.

Though Cork cannot aspire to the lofty ambitions that Buckley outlined for Pat’s, the satisfaction prompted by their well-earned point was somewhat soured, given that Tadhg Purcell could easily have made it three had he not missed a penalty.

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However, Dunne seemed content to focus on the positives:

“It’s a good sign that we’re going away disappointed from here,” he said. “We performed well tonight. The only thing I’d say about that is that when you perform well, you need to pick up the three points, because there’ll be other days when you won’t play as well. But overall, we’re happy.”

Asked for his assessment of his side’s season so far, Dunne admitted there was room for improvement:

“15 points from the first 11 games isn’t a great return. I think there were too many games lost at the start of the campaign,” he said. “We’re hoping to pick it up a bit, but it’s a difficult thing to say. Although I’d know a bit more about the teams, it’s still a tough division.”

He added: “I suppose for me, last year I would have been completely engrossed in the first division, trying to study all the different teams and trying to get ourselves out of the division. It’s a bit of a learning curve in the first 11 games, but we have a good idea of what we’re up against at the moment and the level we’re at.”

Dunne also defended his side’s disciplinary record on the night, after they received a hefty seven bookings.

“It was a keenly contested game,” he said. “They got a few as well. I don’t think we’re a dirty team in any shape or form. I didn’t think it was anything to do with dissent. It was more to do with mistimed tackles. You have to realise Pat’s are a quick, fit team. At different times, if you’re going to be committed, you might mistime tackles, so I wouldn’t worry too much about it. If we get a few suspensions, we’ll have to cope with it when it happens.”

Up next in the league for Dunne’s Cork side is a home tie with UCD, while St Pat’s travel to Bray.

Read: As it happened: St Patrick’s Athletic vs Cork City, Airtricity League>

Read: Finding Forrester: Saints starlet taking the plaudits in his stride>

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Paul Fennessy

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