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Mahon making the most of Cup start for new-look Pats

THE NEW-LOOK St Patrick's Athletic side can take a step closer to the semi-finals of the Setanta Sports Cup tonight if they can outwit Irish League side Linfield at Richmond Park.

Pats boss Pete Mahon has wielded the axe in reaction to a dismal campaign for the Saints last season, with more than a dozen new signings, and the 2010 season kicks off in earnest tonight when Linfield visit.

Two of the nine competing clubs have been kicked out of the competition since it started last August, Cork City and Derry City booted out for financial misdeeds, so Group 3 is a two horse-race between Pats and Linfield, as their games against Derry have been recorded as 3-0 wins for both teams since Derry's demise.

"The Setanta Cup is a positive for any team to take part in and I'm really looking forward to it," said Mahon.

"At the moment Bohs are probably the best team from both leagues but our opponents are not too far behind. I watched them the other night against Crusaders and I was impressed."

Defenders Conor Kenna, Ian Bermingham, Shane Guthrie and Derek Pender are all struggling with knocks while Brian Cash is cup-tied.