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Pat's toothless without Fagan and the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division talking points

Cork City’s Sean Maguire also features, while we look at how Dundalk’s title challenge compares to this time last season.

Saints winger Billy Dennehy takes a free-kick during Friday's loss to Derry.
Saints winger Billy Dennehy takes a free-kick during Friday's loss to Derry.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Pat’s attack looks blunt without Fagan

WHEN TOP SCORER Christy Fagan is missing, St Patrick’s Athletic’s goal threat is limited as they have not scored in the three games since his injury.

Liam Buckley’s charges desperately missed the focal point of their key man in the final third on Friday as they were unable to create chances without the leadership of the former Manchester United youth.

Derry attacked with more purpose at Richmond Park and they were rarely troubled as their hosts lacked intensity and a cutting edge.

The absence of imagination going forward has been a contributing factor in the Saints record of winning only two out of six home games this term indicating that they may have regressed since last year.

The 2013 champions had aspirations of improving on last season’s fourth place finish by challenging Dundalk for their title but they now lie 12 points behind the current holders with a third of the campaign gone.

- Sean O’Neill 

Dundalk sticking to high standards they’ve set themselves

The Lilywhites’ 24 league goals this season have come from eight different players – with five striking at least twice so far in the campaign. By this stage last season, Stephen Kenny’s men had plundered 28 goals but that included the eight-goal drubbing of Bray at Oriel Park. That was more exception than norm.

So, with all of the talk of how they would cope with losing the 29 goal contribution of ‘you know who’, Dundalk’s supporting cast are proving they can step up to the mark. The comments from John Caulfield this weekend – the Cork manager is already wary of letting Dundalk establish a lead at the top – are an indicator that the Louth men remain the team to beat.

- Barry Landy

Cretaro enjoying an renaissance for Bit O’Red

34-year-old Raffaele Cretaro couldn’t get a look in at the beginning of the season as Dave Robertson shuffled his pack of strikers in an attempt to find the answer to their goal-scoring problems. Cretaro has scored three in his last three games. Age is not a factor.

He works hard each time and gives it his all each week. His introduction to the starting eleven has been a huge addition, and has contributed massively to Rovers’ resurgence in the last few weeks.

- Jessica Farry

Maguire continues to show flashes

Is Sean Maguire the real thing? He has flirted with success for years now but looks to have found his feet at Turner’s Cross.

The 22-year-old showed good striker’s instinct with the opener against Bray and he was a nuisance all evening. Former West Ham man Maguire will surely have his eyes on the top scorer prize and if he can keep banging them in, that could propel Cork from bridesmaid to bride.

- Dan Gorman 

Bohs’ goal drought rolls on

The editors on Soccer Republic won’t spend too much time on this one. Almost the entire contest was devoid of any real incident. Bohemians haven’t scored in over four games now and with Harps a side famed for defensive solidity with difficulty scoring more often than not, perhaps a scoreless draw was inevitable in the end.

That said, the Ballybofey side can certainly be content with their opening third to the season, although will take on neighbours Derry City – sitting second in the table – away from home on Tuesday with the Brandywell outfit no doubt determined to avenge their 2-1 loss on opening day at Finn Park.

Harps’ players were adamant afterwards that the late penalty given against Ciaran Coll for an adjudged foul on Roberto Lopes was the wrong call. If that was the case, justice was served when Ciaran Gallagher saved Anto Murphy’s injury-time spot-kick. But Bohemians, regardless, will see Friday as a missed opportunity.

- Alan Foley

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