St Patrick's Athletic begin the defence of their SSE Airtricity League title TONIGHT with a trip south to Turner's Cross as they face John Caulfield's Cork City side, kick-off 7.45pm.
The Saints will be hoping for a reversal of fortunes against the ‘Rebel Army' having been beaten in their final game of the 2013 season in Cork last October.
A first half blitz on that night saw the hosts 3-0 up at half-time, and despite a second half fightback from Pat's through goals from Chris Forrester and Ger O'Brien, Cork managed to see out the game to win 4-2 thanks to Danny Morrissey's late goal.
Ahead of the opening weekend of the league season, Saints' manager Buckley expressed his happiness to get the action underway after a busy pre-season schedule.
“I'm delighted that the season is getting underway now, as this is what the players and the backroom staff and I have all been working towards – this first weekend,” Buckley told stpatsfc.com.
“Cork have made some interesting signings under John Caulfield, so we know that they will test us down there as they'll get the backing from the passionate support they get in Turner's Cross.”
“From our end of things, we've had three good competitive games leading into this point, and since the win last Sunday in the President's Cup against Sligo, we've all been really looking forward to the Cork game.”
“We'll prepare the team as best we can, and go down there looking to put in a performance and hopefully get a result.”
Despite the Saints' defeat in their last visit to the Cross, their record prior to that had been hugely impressive - winning six and drawing once in the past seven league meetings against the ‘Rebel Army'.
In team news, Buckley reports that he has no injuries or suspensions to deal with, leaving him with a full squad to select from.
Speaking to stpatsfc.com ahead of the game, midfielder Greg Bolger spoke of his own excitement ahead of the new season, stating that the Saints' squad would travel to Cork in good spirits.
“The whole group is really excited for this game on Friday. We're all looking forward to get back into regular action and we're travelling down to Cork looking to get a positive result,” the 2013 Saints' player of the year said.
“We know what to expect in Turner's Cross - and we're under no illusions that it will be anything other than a really tough game. They've a number of new players in and a new manager so they'll be looking to get off to a good start.”
“We're starting the season as league champions, so we know we'll have to be on our game every week as teams will be looking to raise their game against us.”
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