- Saturday April 15th, 2017 @ 18:37
INTERVIEW: O'Reilly "Delighted" As U17s Make It Three Wins From Three
The St Patrick's Athletic U17s made in three wins from three to continue their excellent start of the season on Saturday.
Goals from Anto Purdy, Ryan Burke, Cian Hughes, Conor Cowley and an OG secured a comprehensive 5-0 win over Derry City to send the Saints to the top of the SSE Airtricity U17 Elite Division.
The lads took the lead in the second minute after flying winger Adam Nugent's low cross was turned into the net by a Derry defender. Anto Purdy was in close attendance and although he claimed the goal, the referee didn't agree.
Purdy did get on the score-sheet three minutes later, finishing first time from close range after Seanie Mahon's cross.
Mahon got his second assist as much in the tenth minute, and was fouled in the box and up stepped Ryan Burke to send the goalkeeper the wrong way and make it 3-0.
Cian Hughes got the fourth seven minutes before half-time after a well worked quick free kick between Cian Lee,
Ryan Burke and Padraig Finnerty, 'Hughesy' turned in the box to score.
Pat's made three changes at the break with Alex Aspil, Conor Cowley and Kevin O'Reilly replacing Donagh McNamara, Adam Nugent and Seanie Mahon.
Further changes followed after an hour when Cian Lee and Anto Purdy were replaced by Aaron 'Cammy' McGrath and Jake Walker.
Walker's 83rd minute shot was saved which allowed Cowley to finish from close range to make it 5-0.
That win followed a 5-0 victory over Shelbourne on the opening day and last week's 3-1 win in Athlone.
The Saints will play the Irish U16s in a friendly at FAI HQ in Abbotstown on Tuesday before facing Drogheda United next weekend.
Assistant Manager Darragh O'Reilly spoke to StPatsFC.Com after the game.
He was delighted with the quick start to the game.
"It's always important to start a game quickly so to do that and score three goals in the space of ten minutes was obviously great. It gave us a real foothold almost from the first whistle which we built on and allowed us to control the rest of the game."
Quick starts are something this St Pat's team have become known for over the last 18 months, and as Darragh explains, it was even more pleasing after the long trip to Killygordon.
"To be honest we always want to start games fast and on the front foot and thankfully we have developed that habit over the past 18 months. With the early departure this morning and long trip it was something we spoke about even more this week. We anticipated Derry would come at us quickly themselves and on a difficult pitch it was key to start well so it was very pleasing."
Darragh was quick to praise the players after winning their third game in a row.
"The boys have been excellent and the start they have made is a credit to the work they put in. With players moving up to the U19s we have brought 11 new players into the group this season and they've all settled in really well. They've really bought into the ideas we've given them and to the environment we've tried to create so that's been great. Performances have been really positive so the wins are just a bye product of that."
So what does Darragh expect from Tuesday's match against the Ireland U16s?
"It's a great game to get first and foremost. Obviously playing against an international squad will be a good test which is what we want. A couple of our boys are involved with the Irish squad and our other 2001 born players will have aspirations to get into the squad themselves going forward so that's another incentive for them on a personal level. As a group we want to perform well again and keep building on the start so far so we're looking forward to it."