- Thursday October 26th, 2023 @ 16:45
Preview: Saints V Rovers (27/10/23)
The Saints will step out at Richmond Park for the final time in 2023 this Friday evening as they face Shamrock Rovers in their penultimate Premier Division fixture.
Kick-off is on Friday evening at 8pm.
Tickets for the game, both home and away, are completely sold out, with over 5,000 people set to pack into Inchicore to cheer on their teams in one of the biggest games of the season.
For those St Pat's fans who didn't manage to get their hands on a ticket, the match will be shown live on television on RTE2 and also the RTE Player in Ireland.
As usual with live TV games, the fixture will be shown live on LOITV for those outside Ireland.
The Saints come into this game off the back of a hard-fought 1-0 win against Sligo Rovers. This Friday's game in Tallaght completes another busy week for the team, with the other fixture being a 2-0 win in Dalymount Park last Friday against Bohemians.
Sligo Rovers put up a dogged fight in the game and it took a Kian Leavy stunner to win the game.
As Leavy received the ball from Jamie Lennon, he opened up his body and struck with his left foot before the ball nestled into the top corner, sending the fans in Richmond wild. Such a strike definitely made it worth coming out in the poor conditions for the Inchicore faithful.
Leavy's strike proved to be enough as the Saints ran out 1-0 winners on a wet night in Inchicore to secure European football for next season, a significant achievement that had been a goal of the club this season.
These three points in the league table move St Pat's into 2nd place in the Premier Division, with 62 points from 34 league games, a win tomorrow evening would move St Pat's level on points at the top of the table.
The Inchicore side are now three points off Shamrock Rovers in top spot and have won their last four games in a row, keeping four clean sheets in the process.
The run has include an FAI Cup semi-final win in Cork, and league wins against Cork, Bohemians and Sligo Rovers, meaning Jon Daly's men have guaranteed a top three finish, at least, and will definitely be playing European football next season.
OPPOSITION WATCH & RECENT MEETINGS
Shamrock Rovers currently sit top of the table with three games left to play, they'll win a fourth league title in a row if they win on Friday night.
Their last outing was a 5-0 win against Drogheda United on Monday in Tallaght Stadium.
The last time these sides met was a 3-2 victory for Rovers in Tallaght Stadium in May.
Mark Doyle put the Saints 1-0 up before Lee Grace scored on the brink of half-time to level things up. A Richie Towell double in the second half secured the win for the home side despite a late Ben McCormack strike.
The previous meeting in Richmond Park was a 2-0 win for Stephen Bradley's side in April. Johnny Kenny and a second-half Trevor Clarke strike combined to secure the win.
The first encounter between the sides in the 2023 Premier Division was a 2-2 draw in Tallaght Stadium on March 17th, St. Patrick's Day. Richie Towell opened the scoring before an Eoin Doyle penalty in the 42nd minute made it 1-1. In the second half, Jack Byrne reinstated the lead for the home side before a late Jake Mulraney goal in the 88th minute sent the Inchicore side's travelling fans into pandemonium, securing the point.
JON DALY: "Hopefully we can give the crowd something to cheer about!"
Manager Jon Daly spoke to the media on Wednesday ahead of Friday's sold out Dublin Derby.
"We've achieved our first objective of qualifying to Europe, but that's done. I think it's inevitable Rovers will win the league, but it's now if we can make them have to go down to Cork and win. Everything is now geared towards Friday.
The games against Rovers are always competitive games. There's gonna be a good crowd as it's a sell-out again.
It's fantastic for the league to have another full house. Hopefully we can give them something to cheer about and get behind."
Watch Jon's full preview conference on our Youtube channel.
KIAN LEAVY: "The whole club is buzzing at the moment, hopefully we can finish the season like that"
Coming fresh off the back of his first goal for the club which secured European football, midfielder Kian Leavy spoke of his desire to keep the momentum going in order to finish the season strongly:
"When I first came in, the objective was to get into Europe. Obviously it is a bonus that we still have an outside chance of the title. We have a Cup Final ahead of us but to have Europe ticked off with two games to go is very nice. We want to have a go on Friday, we want to win our last two (league) games.
When I came in first, i''s a little bit difficult with a new club, especially as I was out injured. For the club to sign me and still have the faith in you, even when you are injured, and be patient to give you the time you need, and then to get so many minutes and to be able to find a bit of form is great.
The whole club is buzzing at the moment, so we're hoping to finish off the season like that."
Kian's full press conference is available to watch on our YouTube.
Tom Grivosti (knee), Axel Sjoberg (hamstring) and Harry Brockbank (quad) is all unavailable for the game.
All tickets for this game are completely sold out.
As always, updates can be found on the Official St Pat's FC App - available now on both the App Store and Play Store.
Updates will also be available across all the club's social media channels.
Image credit: Inpho Sports