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Saints not fazed by ‘favourites’ tag

New Pat's captain, Ger O'Brien in action

New Pat’s captain, Ger O’Brien in action  (Photo courtesy of http://www.stpatsfc.com/)

 

St Patrick’s Athletic’s staff are in a buoyant mood ahead of this week Airtricity League defence and know teams such as Cork City last night will be upping their game against the champions.

The Inchicore club are in an unfamiliar position of heading into the league of Ireland season as champions and are also clear favourites to hold onto their title.

Speaking at a Patron Saints Supporters Q and A, newly appointed captain Ger O’Brien conveyed how heading into the season with expectations high is certainly a good thing.

“We don’t underestimate how hard it’s going to be, but it’s a challenge I’m personally really looking forward to. Put it this way, I’d rather be favourites than down the other end fighting relegation,” said the full back.

Last season’s PFAI Goalkeeper of the Season, Brendan Clarke was also in attendance and the shot-stopper who grew up a Pat’s fan believes fans expectations and the short odds to hold onto their crown won’t have a bearing on his performances.

“To win the league with the club I grew up with is very special, but there’s no extra pressure because of this. The only pressure I feel is the pressure that comes from within,” insisted Clarke.

The Saints have already competed in two competitions so far this season, defeating Dundalk 2-1 to progress into the quarter-finals of the Leinster Senior Cup and followed that up with a narrow victory over Sligo Rovers in Sunday’s President’s Cup, thanks to a fantastic Keith Fahey effort.

Incidentally, Irish manager, Martin O’Neill and his assistant, Roy Keane were in attendance at Richmond Park and this, Saint’s boss Liam Buckley hopes, will be the first visit of many from the new Ireland dream team.

“We hope to see them here more often,” conveyed the manager, while also highlighting the strength of his squad, telling supporters that some Pat’s players should be involved in the national team.

“I know I’ve got players here that are better footballers than some that Martin is picking at the moment.”

The strength at Buckley’s disposal, after a number of quality summer signings, including Keith Fahey, James Chambers and Mark Quigley, means the manager will have a harder job keeping players happy than in previous seasons.

“We’re obviously emphasising to the players that it’s about the bigger picture, which is success and we need everyone for that. If they don’t want to be part of that then they’ll have to settle for 2nd, 3rd or 4th,” conveyed Buckley.

However, O’Brien feels the competition to get into the starting line-up is entirely beneficial and is relishing the challenge.

“Liam’s done a fantastic job and the squad has certainly been strengthened. Everyone is fighting for a shout. There’s nothing bitter from players who aren’t in the team,” said the captain.

 

Related posts:

Plans for Cork Street park move forward
Ireland continue their hunt for back to back Six Nations titles
League of Ireland: 2017 preview and predictions

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