Too early for panic: O'Brien
Pats skipper sure goals will come despite Setanta blanks
LOTS OF STRIKERS, lots of chances but no goals for St Patrick's Athletic as they exited the Setanta Sports Cup at the first-round stage for the second year in a row.
But Saints captain Ger O'Brien has told Pats fans not to panic and give Liam Buckley's new-look side time to settle in for the real business of the 2012 season.
Despite a string of chances over 180 minutes against Cliftonville, Pats failed to score as the only goal of last night's second leg at Richmond Park came from Reds man Joe Gormley.
The Belfast side won 1-0 on the night and 2-0 on aggregate to earn a meeting with Shamrock Rovers in the next round, though a turning point was a 65th-minute red card for Pats debutant John Russell for his foul on Ciaran Caldwell. Cliftonville took the lead three minutes later.
Strikers Chris Fagan, Stephen O'Flynn and Ian Daly all failed to score for the home side -- though Pats will soon have some more firepower as Dean Kelly completed his move from Shamrock Rovers late last night -- but defender O'Brien is not concerned by the lack of goals which cost Pats a place in the next round.
"We're disappointed to lose out as we had enough chances over the two legs to win the tie," says O'Brien.
"We had a game plan for last night and we created a lot of chances in the first half but we just couldn't put them away and their keeper made some great saves, we hit the post and it just wasn't to be.
"We should have been 3-0 up at half time but we were just not able to score.
"Going down to 10 men didn't help us, that changed the game from my point of view.
"But I'm not worried as it's still very early days in the season, it was a cup competition but we treated the games like two pre-season matches.
"What we are gearing up for is the first game of the league season against Bray in two weeks' time, that's the most important thing for us.
"There's nothing to be concerned about at this stage as I am sure that the goals will come," added O'Brien, a pre-season signing from Bohemians.
"If we had failed to create anything in the two games I'd be a bit worried, but we created lots of chances and conceded two goals from set-pieces so I know the goals will come."
It's a brand new side for Pats -- of the 14 players used last night only three (Ian Bermingham, Sean O'Connor and Ian Daly) were at the club last season and it will take them time to settle -- but early signs are promising and it's clear that the side will try to be pleasing on the eye as well as successful.
Players like Jake Kelly (ex-Bray), Chris Fagan (ex-Bohs) and Russell (ex-Sligo) all looked decent for their clubs last season and they all threatened Ryan Browne in the Reds goal, and Fagan and Sean O'Connor both had goals disallowed.
"It's going to take time to settle in," added O'Brien. "I know what good players we have and we want to play good football at this club. The future is very bright. The Pats fans will have to give the young lads time to develop."