Saints' new black pearl
Pats hoping they can keep hold of rising star Carroll
THERE'S a new claimant to the title of the ‘Black Pearl of Inchicore’ – and St Patrick's Athletic hope to keep their latest discovery, defender Jake Carroll, in the Dublin 8 area for as long as possible.
The youngster from Belvedere has managed to force his way into the Saints’ first team this season, making his fifth appearance of the term in last week's FAI Ford Cup win over Crumlin United – Carroll scored in a 3-0 win.
A number of cross-channel clubs have been sniffing after the 19-year-old, with hopes that he could make the same impact abroad as previous exports from Inchicore like Paul McGrath and Curtis Fleming – and anyone who saw his stunning goal for Pats against Crumlin last week can only have been impressed.
But even though a tight budget means that Pats will not be adding to their squad this summer unless they can offload some players from the current squad, Saints boss Pete Mahon is in no hurry to sell off defender Carroll.
“There has been plenty of talk about Jake, with this club and that club supposedly in for him, but so far the club have not had a single bid and that suits me just fine,” says Mahon as he prepared his team for tonight's game at home to Derry City, with Pats hoping to move up the table from their present position of fourth.
“Jake is a very special talent, he's very good on the ball but has a great attitude and he has the potential to go a long way in the game.
“He's been unfortunate with us this season in that he's had Ian Bermingham in front of him as competition at left-back and Ian is one of the best defenders in the league, in my book, so he hasn't had as many opportunities as he'd like.
“He's come in to play against Galway and UCD in the league, he played against Crumlin United (FAI Cup), Shamrock Rovers (EA Sports Cup) and Athlone Town (Leinster Senior Cup) and we won all those games, so maybe he's a lucky omen for us,” added Mahon.
“I would love to see Jake get the chance to progress his career and play at a high level abroad but I think there's plenty of time for that and if he can stay with us here at Pats for another year or two it will benefit the player and the club.
“Jake went on the club's scholarship scheme with NUI Maynooth last year and that scheme has been so successful that we're extending that from one to four scholarships now. It's great that he can stay in Dublin, play for a club like St Pats and get an education as well.
“We need to have something for players away from their Playstations if they are to have a good life as well as a good career and lads like Jake are getting that chance now,” added Mahon.
“We have a very good crop of young players here now, lads like Derek Doyle and Sean Stewart and Jake are really starting to show their potential so we want to keep them here, not start selling them off to other people.”
Pats had a rare blip earlier this week when they lost 2-1 away to Cork City in the EA Sports Cup but where it really counts – in the league – things are very pleasing indeed, with just two points dropped from the last seven games.
“We're on a nice run now and we have the chance to go third in the table at least, but we have two big games over the next dew days, Derry at home tonight and Dundalk away on Monday. If we can come through those with some points we'll be looking very strong in the table. But I'm expecting a very tough game against Derry.”