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Europe absence 'to benefit Pats'

PETE Mahon hopes that a break from European competition this summer will do his St Patrick's Athletic side the world of good in their bid to land some silverware.

Pats enjoyed superb runs in Europe in the previous two seasons, beating opposition from Latvia, Sweden, Malta and Russia and also taking on big clubs like Hertha Berlin and Steaua Bucharest.

A seventh-place finish in the league last season meant that Pats didn't qualify for Europe this term but that could benefit the Saints, currently top of the league table

The other teams in the top five of the league -- Sporting Fingal, Dundalk, Shamrock Rovers and Bohemians -- will all be involved in European action in the coming weeks, third-placed Dundalk first up with a Europa League tie in Luxembourg on Thursday week.

"The four teams are getting ready for Europe now and I wish them all the best. I hope they stay in Europe for as long as possible," says Mahon.

"It's good for the league overall in terms of the coefficient when Irish clubs do well and hopefully if Pats are back in Europe next year.

"We will benefit if the clubs this season can do well.

"I am a supporter of the League here, I want to see the clubs do well in Europe as we all get tarred with the same brush when clubs do badly, so it's in all of our interests to see Irish teams do well. But, on the other hand, it is of benefit to us that the other teams in the top five are all in Europe.

"They will be very busy over July and August with all their games, presuming that at least a couple of the clubs get through some rounds, that will cause problems for them in terms of travel and fixture changes, so that could be good for us," added Mahon.

"Of course we'd like to be in Europe but the fact that we're not could stand to us."

The Saints are enjoying their best run of form in a decade as Mahon's men are top of the league table, are in the next round of the FAI Cup and also reached the Setanta Sports Cup final, and Mahon's work has been rewarded with a loosening of the purse strings, with cash available to sign players.

"We have three players on trial this week, two from England and one from the USA and I'll make a decision on whether to sign them before the end of the week," Mahon added.


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