ST PATRICK'S Athletic supporters have spent the weekend wondering just what Friday's dismal 4-1 defeat at home to Dundalk says about their side and the club's ambitions of retaining the league title.
But for Dundalk, that victory in Inchicore is, quite simply, a statement of intent about their own hopes for 2014 and proof that, last term, when Stephen Kenny's side went from being relegation candidates to a second-place finish, was not a one-off.
Leading 1-0 at home to Dundalk at half-time, champions Pat's fully expected a home win, but Dundalk tore St Pat's apart in the second half and the pill was even harder to swallow because two of Dundalk's goals were scored by former Saints players David McMillan and Seán Gannon, the final goal of the night – and the best of the four – coming from the unlikely source of defender Gannon, his volley the final touch after 36 successive passes for Dundalk (check out a replay of the goal on YouTube, it's worth a look).
The full back was a fringe player for Pat's last season as they won the title, Gannon starting just three league games, but he feels that another league title, this time in the Dundalk shirt, is possible.
"This win puts it out there, that we are in the mix for this season," said Gannon as Dundalk prepare to do battle again tonight, at home to Derry City.
"We are setting our sights on big things. I can't remember the last time St Pat's conceded four goals at home so to me, us winning away to the champions like that is a big statement about where we want to be and what we want to do this season.
"And to be honest I am not surprised that we did that to Pat's on Friday as our performances this season – bar Drogheda – have been good and we came to Inchicore with the mindset of winning the game, we don't play for draws.
"We don't fear any team in this league, on our day we can match anyone and that result on Friday proves that.
"At half time last Friday we were 1-0 down, away to the champions. Some teams would just lie down or go into their shell if they were in that position, but this team isn't like that, we know how good we are.
"We had played well in the first half against Pat's, we had chances and we were unfortunate to be a goal down but we wanted to give it a go in the second half and we did that, it was our best 45 minutes to date.
"It was a very enjoyable win but the win means nothing if we go out and underperform against Derry tonight, we enjoyed Friday's win but we have to switch our minds on to Derry. If we are to challenge for the league this year we need to follow up that win with another three points tonight," added Gannon. A week into the season there were doubts about Dundalk's potential as they lost 4-1 to local rivals Drogheda United, but have since responded with three wins from four games.
"The only time we dropped points was at home to Bohs and we should have won that game, we have dug deep and performed for each other," said Gannon.
Gannon admitted he had mixed emotions before his first game against his former club on Friday, as he did earn a league medal with the Saints last season, and while he had the option of staying on at Richmond Park this season with the lure of Champions League football, he's in no doubt he made the right move in heading to Oriel Park.
"I am delighted with my football at the moment," he says.
"I had a brilliant year at Pat's last season, it's a great club with a great manager. Liam Buckley rated me and wanted me to stay, but I needed to get more games, Stephen Kenny offered me that at Dundalk and the move has been great for me, Dundalk's style of play and their passing game suits me, hopefully I can win more with Dundalk this season."