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St pat's lose more ground


LIAM BUCKLEY admits that his St Patrick's Athletic side need to up their game if they are to keep pace with league leaders and reigning champions Dundalk.

A healthy Monday night crowd in Inchicore enjoyed the effort in last night's 0-0 draw between Pats and Shamrock Rovers but up the M1 in Co Louth there will have been cheers as these two old rivals cancelled each other out.

Dublin games are proving tricky for Rovers who have now won just one of their three derby matches, though Rovers boss Pat Fenlon insists that last night was a case of a point gained and not two dropped, but there's real concern for the title hopes at Richmond Park, Buckley's outfit already a worrying 10 points behind Dundalk and with just one win from the last four home games, Dundalk will slip further ahead if the Saints keep sinning like that.

"We're disappointed, we wanted to get a win out of last night which would have allowed us jump over Rovers in the table but it hasn't happened so we have to push on to Bray next weekend," said Buckley after the scoreless draw.

"Overall we didn't play well enough to win it, I don't think they did either, we both need to play better if we are going to push on and challenge Dundalk.

"Dundalk won't win every game this season, they will have their draws, their stupid draws and a defeat here and there. They still have to play Cork, Rovers and ourselves. We can only just look at what we are doing, and we're disappointed that we didn't get a win out of last night. We are capable of playing better but our play was patchy last night."

Fans and players from both sides had been forced to wait a few days due to the postponement of Friday's fixture because of an unplayable pitch. And the wait seemed to take the sting out of what had been a much-anticipated evening as last night's game was slow to get into gear, a bit night for Keith Fahey on his return to Inchicore but a night which ended in frustration for the former Saints hero.

The sides spent the first half-hour sizing each other up and it took until the 32nd minute for the first real goal threat. Christopher Forrester found Conan Byrne out wide and he whipped in a dangerous-looking cross which was just too high for Aaron Greene. Rovers had an instant response as Gavin Brennan did well to create a chance for Mikey Drennan, but the Rovers striker was off-target.


Lee Desmond was again impressive at the back alongside Sean Hoare, making it a tough night for Rovers front man Mikey Drennan. The Rovers game plan ran into a serious stumbling block early in the second half when midfield maestro Stephen McPhail was forced off with what looked like a foot injury, and even the arrival off the bench of ex-Saint Danny North could not yield a goal.

"Give us a bit of credit, we have come to St Pats and got a point, what more do you want us to do?" said Fenlon.

"It becomes a great point if we win on Friday, which we have to go and do. We went to Sligo and got a great win but then dropped points at home to Bohemians, that's the difference, so we have to make sure we win on Friday."