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Buckley delighted to have Saints back on right track

It has been a peculiar start to the season for St Patrick's Athletic.

A couple of postponements meant that the Dubliners hadn't played for a fortnight before Saturday night's clash at Thomond Park, but the compact and confident manner in which they eked out a win was noteworthy.

Six points from a possible nine have now been pocketed, and the dismal defeat to Shamrock Rovers has been cleansed from the system.

Inevitably, Pat's boss Liam Buckley was content with how the Saints dealt with an enthusiastic Limerick outfit.

"It is a great three points for us. They will take points off teams down here, that is for sure," he said. "We both had to graft hard. Limerick played well in patches, but I felt we did too. Overall, maybe we marginally deserved it, I felt.

"Managers all over the world say 'there are no easy games' – it is a cliche, but in the current League of Ireland it is especially true. The minute you take your foot off the pedal, you will get turned over. It is important for us to step on against Dundalk on Tuesday to put a little run together."

The decisive blow arrived in the 20th minute when Killian Brennan netted an ice-cool penalty following a Shaun Kelly foul on the smashing Ian Bermingham.

After the restart, Pat's custodian Brendan Clarke made splendid stops to deny Stephen Bradley and Shane Tracy as the visitors prevailed. Kenny Browne and Jake Carroll formed a diligent central defensive partnership, and Buckley is encouraged by the options he has to choose from ahead of a hectic April schedule.

"We've got a lot of good defenders at the club. We have Conor Kenna and Aidan Price to come in there if needed too," said Buckley. "We have decent options and I thought Kenny and Jake did well. They stood their ground when Limerick threw everything at us in the last 20 minutes."

With Stuart Taylor suspended, Limerick assistant manager Malky Thomson was in charge for the night and the Scot reckons his squad can respond to the losses against Sligo Rovers and Pat's.

"I think the lads are experienced and they will pick themselves up. We are very disappointed with the manner in which we got beat given the effort and application that was put in," he said.

"We are certainly not despondent. We've had a great start overall."

Limerick FC – Cusack; Kelly (Costelloe, 88), O'Callaghan, Folan, Nzuzi; Tracy, Gamble, Bradley, Galbraith; Curran, Rainsford (Brown, 85).

St Patrick's Athletic – Clarke; O'Brien, Browne, Carroll, Bermingham; Russell, McFaul (Bolger, 72), Brennan (Gannon, 82); Byrne, Fagan, Forrester.

Ref – A Buttimer (Cork)

Irish Independent