Friday 21 October 2016

Europe's the goal for Saints

Greene: EA Cup win a springboard

The St Pat’s squad celebrate their EA Sports Cup win over Galway United
The St Pat’s squad celebrate their EA Sports Cup win over Galway United

The clouds around Inchicore have partially cleared after St Patrick's Athletic managed to land a trophy in the form of the EA Sports Cup.

But Saints man Aaron Greene admits that the under-achieving Pats players can only turn this season into a truly successful one by securing a place in the Europa League for next term.

Liam Buckley's outfit had to work very hard to win the trophy in front of a big crowd in Galway on Saturday, as the Saints and Galway United were level after 120 minutes of play.

But keeper Conor O'Malley came up with the heroics in a penalty shoot out to make two saves and the Saints won 4-3 on penalties. At the start of this season, the club's main aims were to retain the FAI Cup and challenge for the league title, but those are no longer achievable.

Yet Greene feels that the side can use the Cup final win to overturn the recent five-game losing streak and do enough to secure Europe for next season. "As a team we have definitely under-achieved this season, there's no doubt about that, so we need to make sure we have a place in Europe for next year," Greene told The Herald.

"The EA Sports Cup is nice to have but Europe is vital to a club like this. We pipped Rovers last year and we can do that again this season if we work hard enough in the last few games.

"We have had a hard few weeks and we had been written off, rightly so as our form was bad. We can use this now to finish off the season well, I think the confidence that had been missing for a few weeks is back now, and the young lads in the squad like Conor O'Malley and Jamie McGrath will get a real lift from winning a medal.

"I think this has lifted the mood. It was such a frustrating time, we won nine in a row in the league and then lost five on the spin, that was hard to take, but I hope we are over it now and we can focus on the main aim of getting into Europe for next season.

"It's a nice trophy to have on board, but I have to give credit to Galway for the atmosphere they had on Saturday, the stadium looked great and their crowd were amazing. The game was advertised well down there and it shows you what can happen when you promote games in our league," added ex-Galway player Greene.

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