Sunday 20 January 2019

Kurtis: Win has given us a big lift

Kurtis Byrne celebrates his equalising goal for St Patrick’s Athletic in Saturday’s Premier Division win over Shamrock Rovers. SPORTSFILE
Kurtis Byrne celebrates his equalising goal for St Patrick’s Athletic in Saturday’s Premier Division win over Shamrock Rovers. SPORTSFILE

They are still, technically, in the relegation zone so there are no champagne corks popping around Inchicore just yet on the back of St Patrick's Athletic's weekend win over Shamrock Rovers.

But Saints forward Kurtis Byrne believes it's now time for the side to look up the league table in the hope that their season has turned around.

Pat's were rock bottom heading into Saturday's derby with Rovers, and when Gary Shaw put the Hoops in front early in the second half, the outlook was very grim for the home side. But a red card for Rovers man Sean Seaney helped Pat's get back into the game, and second half strikes from subs Kurtis Byrne and Josh O'Hanlon - their first goals for the club - won the day.

"It was good to just get the first win of the season, it has been difficult as the results haven't been coming for us but I really think we can move on from here," says Byrne, who moved to Pat's from Bohemians in the close season.

"We weren't really worried, we had faith in the ability we have in this team and we knew the first win would come sooner or later. We take confidence from the win now, we look to Bohs away on Friday and we should be able to push up the table."

Byrne, frustrated with a sub's role this season, said the win was for the Saints supporters.

"I was happy for the fans as they haven't had much to cheer about this season, so it was a good win for them as much for us, and hopefully they can get behind us now as we try to push on up the table as we are still at the wrong end of the table," added Byrne.

"A couple of wins and we are up there into the top five, the league is very tight this season and lots of teams seem to be dropping points.

"For the sake of our confidence we had to get something against Rovers, we couldn't afford to be going into the Bohs game with one point from six.

"We're in good form now, the win has given us all a lift, it's a monkey off our backs now. I'm pleased to get my first goal as well, I'd like to have played more games but I always knew I had a goal in me, I have one, Josh scored his first as well we're feeling confident."

Saturday was the fourth loss in six games for Rovers, leaving them eighth in the table, but a key issue for Hoops boss Stephen Bradley was the absence of two players to international duty. as Trevor Clarke and Michael O'Connor are in Belgium with the Ireland U19s for their Euro qualifiers, Clarke a real loss as he'd been an ever-present.

Josh O’Hanlon celebrates his winner. SPORTSFILE
Josh O’Hanlon celebrates his winner. SPORTSFILE

"We did everything for the game to be called off and the league didn't help us whatsoever. It's going to be an issue going forward and we're going to have to look at pulling our players from international football," Bradley said.

"It's not acceptable that the league don't try and help us when we have players on international duty - it's like we're getting punished for promoting young players. That shouldn't be the case."

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