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Thursday 8 December 2016

Saints turn focus back to the pitch

Pat's aim to defend Cup amid FAI row

St Patrick’s Athletic manager Liam Buckley will aim to defend the club’s EA Sports Cup title
in tonight’s semifinal clash with Shamrock Rovers at Tallaght Stadium Picture: Sportsfile
St Patrick’s Athletic manager Liam Buckley will aim to defend the club’s EA Sports Cup title in tonight’s semifinal clash with Shamrock Rovers at Tallaght Stadium Picture: Sportsfile

After a weekend in which St Patrick's Athletic were at loggerheads with the FAI, it's back to matters on the field as the Saints travel to Tallaght Stadium for this evening's EA Sports Cup semi-final clash with Shamrock Rovers.

The Inchicore club, who at the weekend claimed that the FAI "has utterly failed in its responsibility to the domestic game" has refused the association's offer of €5,000 per club towards the expenses of completing a five-year plan.

Following more comment on the matter from both the FAI and St Pat's on Saturday, so far, only Derry City are in support of the Saints' stance.

Meanwhile, St Pat's will aim for a repeat of last year's semi-final in Tallaght with the Saints coming out on top on penalties 4-3 before also going on to beat Galway United in the final on penalties.

St Pat's manager Liam Buckley has spoke of the hunger in his squad to reach another final. "It's another big game for us in what has been a busy week for us. We played well in patches against Derry (last Friday) and could have come away with the points, but a slow start cost us and a point was probably a fair result," Buckley admitted.

"We've played Rovers twice this year and both sides have a win under their belts so it shows that it'll be another tight game in Tallaght Stadium. With both teams just 90 minutes away from a final, it's set to be an open game as there is a big prize on offer to face Limerick in the final."

In team news, Buckley confirmed that David Cawley will be out for a number of weeks after sustaining a collarbone injury, while former Ireland international midfielder Keith Treacy will undergo a late fitness test on a hamstring injury.

Rovers, meanwhile, are without Evan Osam. who is ruled out through while Rob Cornwall is suspended. Former Saint Killian Brennan also remains out.

Rovers boss Stephen Bradley said: "It's a massive chance to get into the final and we want to win this game. It's a different competition and one I enjoy so it would be nice to partake in the final of it."

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