Saturday 27 May 2017

Saints favourites in replay -- McAllister

Neil Ahern

THEY may be coming up against Irish football's only remaining Double hopefuls, but St Patrick's Athletic midfielder Dave McAllister believes his side enter tonight's FAI Ford Cup semi-final replay as favourites.

The former Shelbourne winger produced a superlative display that included an adroitly taken goal in Sunday's dramatic clash as the Saints produced a late equaliser in Tallaght -- albeit finished off in bizarre fashion by Shamrock Rovers' Pat Kavanagh -- to salvage a second bite at the cherry.

And, with confidence as well as a home crowd on their side, McAllister now believes the game is there for the taking.

"I think we are the favourites. They've beaten us twice at Richmond this season but that home advantage is a big thing," declared the 21-year-old. "There is loads of belief in the team now. We have a never-say-die attitude. We've got a lot of late goals this season so, no matter what happens, we'll keep fighting to the end."

Saints manager Pete Mahon, however, is not sure whether the home advantage will count for or against his charges.

"As the home side there will now be a bit more expectation and pressure on us. I thought we played well (on Sunday), especially after the first half hour and if we can play as we did in the second half then we've every chance of making it through," he said.

The visiting Hoops do have a 100pc record in Inchicore this season, though, and, despite having gone four games without a win, manager Michael O'Neill is confident his side can book their berth in the Aviva Stadium final on November 14.

"We're disappointed that the tie has gone to a replay, we felt we should have won the first leg," he said. "But that also gives me great faith in the lads; I know they can get the win."

The former Brechin City manager does have injury problems to contend with, as Stephen Rice (knee), James Chambers (ankle), Tommy Stewart (ankle), Chris Turner (knee) and Pat Flynn (hamstring) were all declared doubtful due to knocks sustained on Sunday.

Danny Murphy and Craig Sives, however, come back into the squad after suspension while Dan Murray, Sean O'Connor and Pat Sullivan (all knees) are not expected to return this season.

Dave Mulcahy and McAllister are expected to play for the hosts despite slight knocks, while Damien Lynch returns from suspension.

Irish Independent

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