Revenge mission has Pats ready for Sligo
REVENGE is on the menu for St Patrick's Athletic this week as the Saints aim to seal their first league title in 14 seasons.
Last season Sligo Rovers secured the Premier Division title with a win at home to Pats.
Next Sunday, 12 months to the day after that 3-2 win for Sligo, the tables will be turned as, no matter what happens in the game involving Dundalk 24 hours earlier, a victory for the Saints at home to Sligo will effectively hand the trophy to Liam Buckley's men.
The Saints' goal difference is so superior to that of Dundalk (+36 as opposed to +19) that any win for Pats should be enough.
And the Inchicore club will be guaranteed the league with a win on Sunday, if second-placed Dundalk – bruised by yesterday's controversial FAI Cup semi-final defeat and with two key players suspended for the next game – drop points away to Bohemians on Saturday.
"It hurt us to see Sligo win the league against us down in their place last season so it would be sweet to win it on Sunday, it would be a nice bit of revenge for last season," says Pats striker Jake Kelly, who scored in Friday's 3-1 win away to UCD which put Pats six points ahead with three games to play.
"The league is in our own hands now and that's the main thing, we're not relying on other results to win it and if we don't win it next Sunday we can wait another week.
"We have taken it game by game all season and we won't stop doing that now, we look to the Sligo game on Sunday and no further than that. At this stage of the season it's not about performances, it's about results and we are getting those."
Midfielder Christopher Forrester and striker Anto Flood scored the first-half goals to give Pats a 2-1 lead away to UCD but a further strike from Kelly ten minutes into the second half sealed the win.
The goal was a nice moment for Kelly as he has been forced to remain patient this season – last Friday in Bray was only his third league start of the season.
"It's a squad game so you have to look at the big picture and that means the club winning the league," says Kelly.
"Of course I would like to have started more games and it has been frustrating but hopefully I did enough on Friday to stay in the team for the last three games of the season, starting with Sligo on Sunday.
"I can't moan too much about not being in the side, the team were doing well and scoring goals, so I had to make do with the odd sub appearance here and there and be ready to start when the chance came along, and maybe I did that in the UCD game last week," added Kelly.