JJ Lunney is loving life back in Dublin.
The 19 year old returned from Preston to sign for St Pat's in July 2016 having spent two years in the UK.
He started the final three games of last season and was in the team that lost 2-1 to Bray Wanderers on the opening night of the new season last Friday.
The midfielder sat down with stpatsfc.com after training on Tuesday to look back on that defeat to Bray and ahead to Friday's match in Drogheda.
He began by talking about life back in Dublin and having access to his mum's home cooking seven days a week!!
"It's always good being home and I enjoyed my visits back to Dublin over the couple of years that I was away. It was a good experience living away and helped me become more responsible and to grow as a person, but yeah, it's always nice having your mam around, I wouldn't be the most talented in the kitchen that's for sure!"
Graham Kelly's 85th minute strike was not enough to prevent Friday's 2-1 defeat to Bray Wanderers.
Liam Buckley wasn't happy with his team's performance, something Lunney agrees with.
"I thought we were quite poor. We didn't start the game well which set the tone for our performance. We gave way to many free kicks away which played into their hands and stopped us getting into any flow. We weren't really able to implement our plan which meant we never really got going."
"Our passing game had been going quite well in pre season and was very effective in all of the friendly games and we need to get back to that quickly. We didn't play anywhere near what were capable of last Friday and Liam was right in what he said afterwards, we have to be better."
A visit to United Park to face newly promoted Drogheda awaits this Friday (kick off 7.45pm)
Pete Mahon's team opened their campaign with a 1-0 victory in Galway last weekend.
JJ hopes Drogs won't be making it two wins in a row.
"We are all ready to put things right and put that defeat behind us. Training has been very sharp again this week and we'll be well prepared for Friday.
Everyone's attitude in training since the start has been spot on and everyone is willing to put in the work, we just need to try and match that with a good performance, starting in Drogheda."
Lunney says Drogheda will be coming into the game with a spring in their step following that win in Galway.
He says a good start is crucial.
"They'll be going into the game with a good bit of confidence having got the result down at Galway and seeing us lose to Bray. They'll want to put on a good performance for their fans on their first home game back in the Premier Division. It's a tight pitch and I think they'll try to get in our faces and stop us passing the ball, we need to start the match well."
So what impact will the small United Park pitch have on the game?
"All of our players are well capable of playing in tight spaces and playing with pressure from opposition players. For me as a midfielder, I just think it's about knowing what you are going to do with the ball before you get it and moving it as quick as possible before you get closed down.
It'll need people to be brave as well to want to on the ball and play. If everyone does that, we'll he hoping to pick up the three points."
"It's hugely important that we win the game and start to build momentum for the coming games. A win will give us a little boost of confidence which is maybe what we need."
JJ is an Ireland U15, U16, U17 and U19 international and is getting ready (hopefully) to face Sweden, Belgium and Italy in the UEFA U19 European Championship Elite Phase qualifiers in March.
He signed for Championship club Preston North End from Malahide United as a 16 year old in July 2014.
Having spent two seasons with the club that is now home to Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle, he returned home to Dublin last summer and split his playing time between the Pat's U19s and first team.
He started the final three first team games of last season against Cork City, Dundalk and Derry City.
He feels that first team experience helped him heading into this campaign.
"I think playing those matches against the top teams gave me a taste of what it was going to be like this season, I'm in a good place at the minute, enjoying training and playing with the first team hopefully I can continue to play week in week out and performing to the standards I know I can."
"If I manage to do that, I'm hoping that will be enough to get me back over to England in a couple of years, but for now, myself and all the boys are focused on getting our season going with a win in Drogheda."
|8||St. Patrick's Athletic||33||39|
|10||Galway United FC||33||35|