IT'S JUST a couple of weeks since Pete Mahon used the launch of his side's campaign to underline the club's lowered expectations but wins over Galway United and, particularly, Shamrock Rovers, have threatened to set them soaring.
Tonight St Patrick's Athletic take on UCD at Richmond Park, where they will be aiming to make it three wins out of three. Nobody, Mahon insists is counting any chickens. “None of us are getting carried away with ourselves,” says the former UCD boss who is at pains to acknowledge how well Martin Russell has done since replacing him at Belfield.
The students have beaten Drogheda away and went close to repeating the trick in Tuesday's home game with Bohemians but conceded late goals and lost their goalscorer on the night, Greg Bolger, to a sending off which means he misses this evening's trip to Inchicore. Robbie Creevy is also suspended, while Ger Barron and Paul Corry are sidelined through injury, with Seán Harding likely to join them in the stands this evening. Brian Shorthall, however, is expected to be fit to feature.
The hosts have Brian Cash suspended but Noel Haverty is back from injury, giving Mahon an almost full squad to choose from.
A home win combined with Bohemians dropping points in Drogheda would send St Patrick's clear at the top and Bohemians manager Pat Fenlon, who is without the injured Jason McGuinness and waiting to assess the fitness of Brian Shelley and Stephen Gray, isn't ruling anything out. “People think because we're Bohs and we're champions we should go everywhere and win but it's not like that,” he says.
Two wins out of two suggests it is actually, at least a little like that, but the hosts will not be helped by the absence of Michael Daly and Corie Treacy through suspension and injury respectively. Eric McGill and Paul Crowley are available again after serving bans.
In the night's other top-flight game, Dane Massey is suspended and Richie Baker (groin) is a doubt for Bray as they prepare to take on Sporting Fingal. The visitors are without Lorcan Fitzgerald.