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  • Sunday February 23rd, 2014 @ 14:26

Ballinamallard Team News

St Patrick's Athletic get their 2014 Setanta Sports Cup campaign up and running tomorrow night as they travel to County Fermanagh to face NIFL Premiership side Ballinamallard United (kick-off 8pm, Live on Setanta Ireland).

Saints' Supporters are reminded that tickets are available for purchase at Ferney Park, priced £10/€12 for Adults and £6/€8 for concession.

The reigning SSE Airtricity League champions will look to turn around their recent run of results against IFA teams in recent years. Since the Saints' 1-0 defeat in the 2010 Setanta Sports Cup final against Bohemians, they have failed to progress past the opening round in the competition, exiting after a 1-0 aggregate defeat to Glentoran last year and being knocked out by Cliftonville in both 2012 and 2011.

Speaking to stpatsfc.com, Saints' goalkeeper Brendan Clarke admitted that the poor run in the competition was something that the squad were keen to end, as he reflected on the defeats in recent years.

“We've been unlucky in the competition lately as we had games against Glentoran last year and Cliftonville before that where we had situations where we should have scored or just got hit with goals on the counter. It has given teams something to hold onto often, or they've just scored at the right time, so we've been a bit unfortunate.”

“But with the change of format where a win in this round would put us into a semi-final, we're all really looking forward to the game as that tag of ‘All-Ireland Champions' would be nice.”

Monday night's game sees the traditional element of IFA sides in the middle of the season taking on the FAI sides in the midst of their pre-season training programmes. However despite the variation in where the two sides are at in terms of preparation, Clarke insists the Saints will approach the game as they normally would.

“We've been back in training a while now and things have gone well and the new lads have been great with the group too. We may still be building up our own fitness levels but just because Ballinamallard are in season and match fit, it doesn't affect our preparations for the game.

“We'll respect the opposition as they deserve to be, but we'll just concentrate on ourselves and how we'll play and hopefully we'll get a result and hopefully ahead of the second leg.”

In team news, Liam Buckley confirmed to stpatsfc.com that he will assess the fitness of several players before kick-off as several players have some knocks from training and in last week's 2-1 Leinster Senior Cup win over Dundalk. The Saints meanwhile have no suspensions ahead of the game.

New signings Derek Foran and Mark Quigley, who are both in their second spells with the club, are in line for débuts should they make an appearance, while goalkeeper Clarke will make his 100th start for the club if selected from the outset.

Monday's game holds great importance for Buckley as he looks to get a result to help the Saints ahead of the second leg in Richmond Park of the tie, while he also looks to see the fitness levels of his squad improve ahead of the start of the 2014 league season.

“Monday's game is going to be tough one for us as we've had Ballinamallard watched by Dave Campbell on our coaching staff, and we know know they're a decent side. The game is in the middle of our own pre-season preparations so a competitive game will help us get ready for the start of our season, and I'm expecting it to be a really competitive game.”

“The game is on television so we know that our fans will travel in great numbers to the game, and we'll have a lot of people watching at home, so there's great motivation in the squad to get the result for them and take it back to Richmond Park for the second leg.”

Saints' Supporters are reminded that tickets are available for purchase at Ferney Park, priced £10/€12 for Adults and £6/€8 for concession.

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St Patrick's Athletic FC

Founded in 1929 the 'Saints' play in the Premier Division of the SSE Airtricity League at Richmond Park, in Inchicore Dublin 8, Ireland.

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