| 6.3°C Dublin

Faherty fires a warning shot

FROM the streets of Inchicore to the Showgrounds of Sligo a clear message, that if the men from the west want to finish this season as League of Ireland champions they will have to work hard for the honour.

THANKS to this 5-0 hammering of UCD, St Patrick’s Athletic remain in the hunt for a top-two finish at least, with still an outside chance of a |league title in the unlikely event that table-toppers Sligo - unbeaten in 14 league games - start throwing away points in the final four games.

After a disappointing draw against Drogheda United last weekend, Pats had to regroup and, with a squad ravaged by injury and suspension, take on a UCD side who had come up with some fine end-of-season form.

And Pats delivered with Vinny Faherty scoring a hat-trick in the Saints’ biggest win of the season, which reduces Sligo’s lead to five points, though only until Friday when the leaders are away to Cork City.

Questions

“We owed it to the league overall, but more importantly to ourselves, to try to win the game as it would be a shame if Sligo had the league won with three or four games to go. So at least we asked some questions of Sligo and they now have to go down to Cork to get something before they play us on Saturday week,” said Pats boss Liam Buckley.

“If they drop points in Cork they could be five points ahead of us by the time we play them in Sligo and that will make it interesting at least.

“If Sligo do win the league against us I will be the first one to shake their hands and congratulate them.

“But if they don’t do that then it’s still game-on as far as we are concerned with two matches left in the league after that.

“There’s a lot at stake still, Drogheda and Shamrock Rovers are fighting for European spots so it’s still in the mix,” added Buckley after Pats managed to romp home in front of a disappointing Inchicore crowd of 716 punters.

“Last night was a hard game for us as UCD had been on a good run and it was our second game in four days. We had a lot of changes in the side but I was delighted with the effort the players put in, lads like Aidan Price and Anto Flood came into the side and did what was asked of them.”

At the half-time break last night Pats fans were a tad anxious as their side held only a 1-0 lead, thanks to Jake Kelly’s 16th-minute opener, Kelly collecting a pass from Christopher Forrester and sliding his shot past Ger Barron.

The second half was one-way traffic as an uncharacteristically slack UCD side gifted chances to Pats. Twelve minutes after the break Faherty made it 2-0 with his first goal of the night, Barron again beaten by a well-placed shot.

On the hour mark UCD boss Martin Russell tried to shake things up with a triple substitution but there was no respite for his side as Faherty netted his second goal on 65 minutes, picking up on the rebound after Forrester’s shot had come off the crossbar.

Character

On 73 minutes it was 4-0 when Anto Flood finally got the first goal of his second spell with the Saints, a tap-in for Flood after Forrester had done all the hard work. And five minutes from time Faherty scored his first senior hat-trick, beating Barron from close range.

It was UCD’s biggest defeat of the season and out of character for a side who had been so impressive recently, as tiredness caught up with Martin Russell’s young side.

“We were a bit flat last night. With the group we have it’s always a challenge to come to the side who are second in the league,” says Russell, a league winner as a player with Pats. “It was a big ask for us to come here but I would still have expected better from us, once they got the first goal the momentum was with them and we had a real mountain to climb.”


Privacy