Friday 18 January 2019

Saints to make up for opening-night nerves

St Pat’s Ian Bermingham. Pic: Sportsfile
St Pat’s Ian Bermingham. Pic: Sportsfile

The die-hards among the St Patrick's Athletic support will have been disappointed, but not surprised, to see the side lose on the opening day of the season last weekend.

For the fourth season in-a-row, the Saints failed to do the needful on the first day back and they have to go back to 2013, their title-winning season, for a win on opening night.

The Saints were not alone as, for the first time in Premier Division history, all three Dublin clubs lost their first game of the new term, Bohs losing at home to Derry City and Shamrock Rovers going down in Dundalk while Pat's lost at home to Bray Wanderers.

Defeat still hurts, though, as far as the long-serving captain Ian Bermingham is concerned.

"We were very disappointed with last week's defeat as we had felt all the work in pre-season had gone well and we were ready for the opening game. However when you fail to perform and fail to do the basics right, it is very frustrating," Bermingham said, his side in action again tonight, away to a Drogheda United side who enjoyed a first-day win away to Galway United.

"The one thing, though, is this week everyone had worked really hard to put things right and so we're going into the Drogheda game now looking to put in a much better performance. We are capable of much better and the aim is to deliver on that."

Pat's effectively secured European football with a win over Drogheda in their last meeting, at the end of the 2015 season, but this term it's going to be much more of a battle for the Inchicore club to get into the European places.

Drogheda enjoyed their return to top-flight football with that win in Galway last week, where ex-Shamrock Rovers man Gareth McCaffrey came off the bench to score the winner and tonight's game sees former Saints boss Pete Mahon go up against his former club.

"I'd have great time for Pete as he was great to work with at both UCD and Pat's when he was here, and he achieved a lot here at the club during his spell as manager. I'd still keep in touch with him so I know what a great manager he is and Drogheda will be strong this season," says current Pat's manager Liam Buckley.

"Any team managed by Pete will give 100 per cent and if we're anything below that level, we won't get a result.

"We need to be at our best, but I think we have learned from last week and can get the three points on Friday if we play the way we know we can," added Buckley.

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