Buckley finds a champion in captain O'Brien
The fans of St Patrick's Athletic have been playing the blame game a bit too much for their liking in a bid to find out why a promising season in the league has tailed away.
Of course the 2016 campaign has not been a disaster and tonight the Saints have a chance to land a trophy for the fifth successive season, taking on Limerick in the final of the EA Sports Cup, while the side are also just 90 minutes away from the FAI Cup final.
But the Premier Division has been a washout, Pat's a worrying 24 points behind league leaders Dundalk and 14 points off a top three finish. Liam Buckley is the longest-serving manager in the country and some among the Saints faithful have wondered if it's time for a change despite his record of delivering a trophy and European football annually.
But captain Ger O'Brien says the problem is on the pitch and not in the dugout, with more needed from an under-performing bunch of players.
"It's frustrating," says O'Brien, hopeful of being the man to lift the trophy in Limerick this evening.
"As players we need to take a large degree of responsibility. A lot of things get left at a manager's door but as players we haven't performed.
"It's frustrating as a group. We just haven't reached the heights. If we all knew how to fix it quickly we'd all be challenging for leagues.
"It's very frustrating, but Liam has brought through some younger players this year. We've been punished for mistakes at times this year but there is nobody more disappointed in the dressing room than ourselves. We certainly need to take a lot more responsibility on the pitch and we just haven't been doing that," O'Brien added.
Retaining the EA Sports Cup would put a shine on the season, though.
"In the league it's been disappointing but we can still finish the season quite strongly. We can pick up a trophy today, we are obviously in the semi-finals of the FAI Cup as well. It is important for a club like ourselves and for us as a group of players," says the Saints skipper.
Limerick have already won a trophy this season, the Division One title, but today is a bigger test. "This is an opportunity against an established Premier side with players who have won leagues and cups to see how far or how close we are," says manager Martin Russell.
"We're looking forward to the game. Having done the hard work in the league, it's something that the lads can treasure but equally test themselves to see how close we can get against a Pat's side that's also in the semi-finals of the FAI Cup."