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St Patrick's Athletic becoming contenders again amid best start in 13 seasons

Stephen O’Donnell’s side lead the Premier Division standings with seven rounds of fixtures in the books.

St Patrick's Athletic players celebrate after Matty Smith's goal in last week's win at Finn Harps.
St Patrick's Athletic players celebrate after Matty Smith's goal in last week's win at Finn Harps.
Image: Evan Logan/INPHO

EVEN AT THIS early juncture, it would be hard to begrudge St Patrick’s Athletic fans the sense of satisfaction they’re entitled to take from the complexion of the Premier Division table ahead of this weekend’s double helping of fixtures.

They were champions in 2013, but you have to go back a further five years to find a better start to a season than the one they’re currently in the midst of.

In 2008, Johnny McDonnell was calling the shots from the sideline and Keith Fahey was producing the kind of eye-catching performances that earned him a move to Birmingham City at the end of the season.

However, Pat’s ultimately finished second behind a Bohemians outfit that featured the man who has overseen their impressive beginning to 2021.

With seven rounds of fixtures in the books, Stephen O’Donnell’s side are the only team keeping pace with champions Shamrock Rovers.

They go into this evening’s home game against Longford Town leading the standings via goal difference, having recorded five wins and two draws to date.

Long-serving members of the Pat’s squad like Ian Bermingham, Lee Desmond and Jamie Lennon were supplemented by some shrewd winter additions made by O’Donnell.

Ronan Coughlan, John Mountney, Sam Bone and 19-year-old Liverpool loanee Viteslav Jaros – who has conceded just three goals – appear to have considerably strengthened the Richmond Park outfit.

Crucially, gifted midfielder Chris Forrester has shown glimpses of the form that convinced Peterborough United to hand him their captain’s armband at the age of 23.

Pat’s will expect to pick up another three points at the expense of a Longford side whose struggles continued with last week’s 1-0 defeat away to Waterford.

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The Inchicore side are likely to face a much stiffer test when they encounter former manager Liam Buckley in Monday’s meeting with Sligo Rovers. 

FRIDAY

Premier Division

  • Drogheda United v Sligo Rovers – 5.45pm
  • St. Patrick’s Athletic v Longford Town – 5.45pm
  • Bohemians v Derry City – 7.45pm
  • Finn Harps v Shamrock Rovers – 7.45pm
  • Waterford v Dundalk – 7.45pm

First Division

  • Bray Wanderers v Cork City – 7.30pm
  • Athlone Town v Cabinteely – 7.45pm
  • Shelbourne v Treaty United – 7.45pm
  • Wexford v UCD – 7.45pm

SATURDAY

First Division

  • Cobh Ramblers v Galway United – 7.00pm

MONDAY

Premier Division

  • Drogheda United v Bohemians – 2pm
  • Shamrock Rovers v Waterford – 2pm
  • Longford Town v Dundalk – 5.45pm
  • Sligo Rovers v St. Patrick’s Athletic – 5.45pm
  • Derry City v Finn Harps – 7.45pm

About the author:

Paul Dollery

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