Friday 19 January 2018

Conan Byrne: I sat out Longford game to be ready for Skonto Riga test

St Pat's Conan Byrne
St Pat's Conan Byrne

Aidan Fitzmaurice in Riga

CONAN Byrne believes that St Patrick's Athletic can secure more progress in Europe this season if they can come up with a repeat of their display against Legia Warsaw 12 months ago.

Pats are in Latvia for the first leg of their Europa League first qualifying round tie with Skonto Riga (tonight, 5pm Irish time), the Saints aware that either Hungarian or Montenegrin opposition awaits them in the second round should they get through.

Pats have been knocked out at the first-round stage for the last two years but Euro veteran Byrne feels that success is within reach if they can come up with another positive away display.

"In my experience of Europe, the away legs have always been good, the home legs less so," Byrne told

"We were very good away to Legia Warsaw last year, we drew 1-1 in Poland but should have beaten them, if we can repeat the Legia performance we have a great chance.

"This tie with Skonto will be a battle as, from what the manager has told us, they are of a similar level to us, it's probably 50-50.

"Skonto have a decent European history and pedigree, they are a strong club in their own league and they know Europe, but we are confident in our own ability and we are well prepared."

Byrne is eager to get back to action having missed a month of the season due to a hamstring injury.

"My aim was to get back fit in time for the Longford game last week and I was back for that but Liam wanted to make sure I was right for Europe so I sat out the Longford match and now I'm delighted to be here," he added.

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