Thursday February 16th, 2023 @ 13:00
PREVIEW: St Pat's Vs Derry City (17/02/23)
The new League of Ireland season is back with a bang this Friday night as St Patrick's Athletic host Derry City at sold out Richmond Park.
It's the 2021 FAI Cup winners against the 2022 winners in what should be a cracker in Inchicore!
The Saints finished fourth last season while The Candystripes sealed second spot, with both teams aiming to start the 2023 campaign with maximum points.
Kick-off is at 7.45pm, the match is totally sold out and no home tickets will be available on the night, some away tickets remain with information on those from Derry City directly.
You can watch game live on LOITV, Oisin Langan and Keith Treacy will begin their coverage from 7.30pm.
It's been a busy off season for St Pat's, with six new faces arriving at the club.
After a year away at UCD, in which he helped The Students retain their Premier Division status with the winner in the play-off final, Tommy Lonergan has returned to the club while Manager Tim Clancy has added Estonian international midfielder Vladislav Kreida on loan from Estonian Meistriliiga club Flora, Dutch defender Noah Lewis, Jake Mulraney who is home from the MLS and the loan captures of Jay McGrath from Coventry City and Conor Carty from Wolves.
Goalkeepers David Odumosu and Danny Rogers signed new deals over the winter as did defender Harry Brockbank and midfielder Jamie Lennon, who is now the longest serving player at the club in a continuous spell, the 24-year-old is heading into his sixth full season as a senior player at St Pat's.
13 of last seasons squad were already under contract for 2023, with many of those on long term contracts, including Club Captain Joe Redmond, the magical Chris Forrester and last season's top scorer Eoin Doyle, while a number of Saints Academy players have signed their first professional deals.
Head To Head
This is the 4th time St Pat's have faced Derry in the opening game of the league season.
Friday's match will be the 111th league meeting of these two famous clubs and it's been tight over the years with 238 goals scored between them.
St Pat's have won 37 of the 110 games so far, with Derry victorious 35 times, the other 38 ended all square.
Ruaidhri Higgins men had the upper hand last season, winning three of the four meetings, the other was a draw.
City have also had a busy off season with the additions of Colm Whelan from UCD, goalkeeper Tadhg Ryan from Bohemians, Ben Doherty joined from Larne with former St Pat's midfielder Adam O'Reilly arriving from Preston North End while Matthew Ward signed on loan from Ipswich Town.
Another former Saint Brian Maher could also line out in goal for Derry.
We'll be aiming to begin the campaign on a positive note" - Clancy
Manager Tim Clancy is getting ready for his second full season in charge at Richmond Park, the 38-year-old spoke to the media on Wednesday ahead of the big kick-off:
"It's a great first game for us and we're looking forward to it. Our first two matches this season will be at home so we're hoping to make that advantage count and start well in front of our home fans.
Facing Derry City will be a huge test for us, they are one of the best teams in the country and had a very good year last year.
We went up to watch their President's Cup game against Shamrock Rovers last Friday so it was good to get to see the live in a competitive game. They are going to be strong this season as are we.
The stadium is sold out which is brilliant, all of the squad, especially the new lads are really looking forward to the game.
We've had a good pre-season and we are very happy with the squad, we have a great group with some excellent players so we'll be aiming to begin the campaign on a positive note on Friday."
We'll have to be right at it - Lennon
Midfielder Jamie Lennon is one of the most experienced players in the St Pat's squad.
The 24-year-old is going into his 6th full season as a senior player at the club, having made his league debut third game the 2018 campaign away to Waterford as a 19-year-old.
Lennon has made 136 appearances in the famous red and white so far, 112 of them in the league, and was part of our FAI Cup success in 2021, starting the final against Bohemians in front of over 36,000 at Aviva Stadium.
Following Ian Bermingham's retirement, former Ireland U21 international Lennon becomes the longest serving player at the club in a continuous spell.
In the current squad, only Chris Forrester (289 appearances during his two spells) has played more games for St Pat's.
Lenny, who scored a brilliant goal in the 2-0 pre-season win against Sligo Rovers, is ready for action!
"We're ready to go! It's been a long couple of months across the off season as it always is in the League of ireland but we are all excited now that the season is about the start.
We've kept a good core of last years squad and added some real quality too, the standard in training and in our pre-season games has been really really good and we'll be looking to carry that into the Derry game and into the season then.
We didn't play as well as we wanted to in the games against Derry last season so we know we'll have to be right at it on Friday night and I think we will be.
We've prepared well, we're raring to go and hopefully we can hit the ground running and get the crowd behind us early doors on Friday night!"
Harry Brockbank hurt his calf in the Leinster Senior Cup defeat to Wexford recently and will miss the game, while Adam Murphy is also out with a knock.
Image credit: Sportsfile / Inpho Sports
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