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St Pats looking to Buck up this season

Speaking at the launch of the 2016 SSE Airtricty League of Ireland, Saint Patrick’s Athletic manager Liam Buckley insisted that his team would be as competitive as ever in the forthcoming season.

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Buckley, who is in his fourth term as the Saints’ boss, said that no team has the right to say that they are going to win the title.

“No one has a divine right at this stage to say that they are going to go and win the league but we will be competitive as always. Dundalk have won it the last two years and deserved it when you look at their results,” Buckley said.

“We’ve been competitive the last two seasons and it’ll be important for us to get off to a strong start. We’ve signed well in the off-season so now we just need to get the new lads settled in as quickly as possible so we can push on from the outset,” he continued.

With the start of the season just around the corner, Buckley said that pre-season has been tough but that his players were in good shape ahead of the opener on March 9th.

“Pre-season has been tough as you would expect. We’ve spent the last few weeks on all -weather pitches which has been tough on the player’s legs. We played Bray in the Leinster Senior Cup which was a tough game, but it was good for the lads to get some competitive game time before the season kicks off on March 9th,” explained Buckley.

“Fitness wise we are just about there now, most of the players look to be in very good shape which should benefit us in the opening few weeks of the season,” Buckley continued.

The Inchicore side will also be looking forward to a European adventure after picking up the final European spot, finishing fourth last season. With such promising financial rewards for playing in Europe, Buckley is delighted to get the chance to bring the Richmond Park side to Europe for the 4th successive season.

“It’s great to be involved in a European competition. I’d rather finish 4th and get there by default then not be there at all. As you progress through the rounds, it’s almost a double your money situation on the financial side of things,” Buckley said.

“This is my fourth season with Pats and in each one of those seasons we have been in Europe which is great for the club,” he continued.

The off-season saw a number of players depart from Richmond, including centre-half Kenny Browne and midfielder Greg Bolger. The Saints’ boss said that while the departure of these players will be a miss for the club, they have done well to replace them in the squad.

“Obviously, we lost a few players over the course of the off-season. Kenny Browne and Greg Bolger both moved down to Cork and, for themselves, they are both probably better off financially speaking.That being said, we have replaced them with equally talented players in Darren Dennehy and David Cawely,” Buckley stated.

By David Pheasey

 

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