St Patrick’s Athletic v Derry City preview

St Patricks Athletic will go into this one disconsolate, having been ousted in their FAI cup semi-final by local rivals Shelbourne.

Derry are also coming to terms with their title challenge falling just short, but this will not be a game lacking bite or shorn of big game tempo, as Derry can secure a place in Europe next season with a point at Richmond Park.

The Inchicore based side have plenty of positives to take from their recent league form, having lost only one of their last five league matches and taking three wins and two draws from their last five home league games.

That sort of form will, no doubt, have pleased manager Pete Mahon and he will be looking to finish the season on a positive note, despite the crushing disappointment of Monday night’s defeat.

Mahon will almost have a full complement of players to choose from, with Garry Rogers (suspension) and Sean O’ Connor (hamstring) the only absentees.

Rogers was somewhat harshly adjudged to have dragged down inrushing Shelbourne midfielder Kevin Dawson on Monday night, but the suspension stands.

Derry, although disappointed with their season’s end, will be fully concentrated on taking all three points here.

Capturing European football for the Foylesiders next season is the sole focus of manager Stephen Kenny: “Europe will be a huge prize for the players-it would be a big thing, massive for the club, with serious financial rewards,” he said.

“We won’t be playing for a draw- we’ll be positive and try to score goals.

“We will take the game to them and make sure we defend well when we need to.”

Kenny will be without a number of first string players with Eddie McCallion and Gareth McGlynn definitely out with calf injuries. Owen Morrison will not be available and Stuart Graecan (shoulder) is a major doubt. Patrick McEleney and Shane McEleney will face late fitness tests.

This will be an interesting encounter with two good sides hoping to take the spoils. Despite St Pats good recent league form, Derry have far more to play for and that extra impetus and motivation should secure European football for the Brandywell next season.

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