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Saturday 10 December 2016

Ger O'Brien: 'We still have time to save St Pat's season'

Saints ace O'Brien eyes EA win and Euro place

St Patrick’s Athletic captain Ger O’Brien is pictured with the EA Sports Cup ahead of
Saturday’s final clash with Galway United
St Patrick’s Athletic captain Ger O’Brien is pictured with the EA Sports Cup ahead of Saturday’s final clash with Galway United

Out of the league title race, out of the FAI Cup and struggling to qualify for Europe next season.

But St Patrick's Athletic defender Ger O'Brien believes this can still be a successful season for the Saints - if they can land some silverware next weekend in the form of the EA Sports Cup and also secure Europa League qualification.

It's been a bad few weeks for the Dublin 8 club with five straight defeats, including a painful loss to Cork City which ended their reign as FAI Cup holders, but O'Brien feels there is time for the gloom to clear.

"You can only look back on the season at the end of the year and we still have something to play for," O'Brien told The Herald, as Pats up their preparations for Saturday's final against Galway in Eamon Deacy Park.

"We still have six league games where we can push on and qualify for Europe, so if we can win a trophy and get through to Europe, it will be a good platform for next season.

"I can't say it will have been a great season, but you can't dismiss it as a bad season if you get Europe and win a trophy. Finishing seventh: that's a poor season but we still have something to aim for.

"At the start of the season every team wants silverware, and the Premier Division and FAI Cup are the main ones.

"Now we find ourselves 90 minutes away from a trophy, the EA Sports Cup is something I haven't won. I'm not getting any younger and I want to have a full collection of medals when I finish up, so Saturday is a big opportunity for me, it's my first final in this competition."

With Christopher Forrester (now Peterborough United) already gone, Pats could have a much-changed squad in 2016 but O'Brien hopes the panel can remain intact.

"For a few years there was a real merry-go-round of players in this league but I think we have stopped that and there's been a bit of consistency from us in the last few seasons," says O'Brien, now in his fourth season with the Saints.

"I think we can keep the bulk of the squad together, Chris (Forrester) wanted to go to England and maybe others will want to leave but if we keep the core here and add some quality, we will be better placed."

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