Thursday 18 January 2018

'Cup hoodoo' a factor -- Mahon

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

PETE MAHON believes that the 50-year FAI Cup hoodoo that hangs over St Patrick's Athletic got to his players on Friday night as they let a one-goal lead slip against Shelbourne.

The experienced boss will be looking for a big improvement from his charges in the replay at Richmond Park tonight (7.45) as they look to book a place to face Sligo Rovers at the Aviva Stadium on November 6.

They'll have to do it without a quartet of suspended players -- Paul Crowley, Anto Murphy, Dave Mulcahy and Derek Pender -- whose bans for accumulated bookings kick in.

The Saints blew a real chance against the 10-man Shels, but they were rattled early on when the Division One side threw everything at them and towards the end as they ended up hanging on for a replay.

"We didn't underestimate them at all," Mahon said. "I don't know if it was this 50-year monkey on our players' minds, but we were very, very nervous there, we never really got going at all.

"When you look at the game and take it on it's merits, you'd have to say that Shelbourne deserved a draw. Monday night's game is the last thing we needed. It's the last thing Shelbourne needed as well.

"But as they say in politics, we are where we are, so we have to get on with it -- not complain -- just get on with it. Overall, it was a night that was best forgotten by us and I'm happy enough we have a chance to put it right at home.

"We have a great record at home, we've only lost once there all season, so we'll look forward to that now again."

Shelbourne will be without Colm James, who was sent off for kicking out in Friday's game, but his loss will be compensated by the return of Gareth Matthews and Conan Byrne. Karl Bermingham may also return.

Having caused so much problems for their hosts on Friday, they will fancy their chances but the Saints will feel that they can't play that badly again and should book their place.

Verdict: St Patrick's Athletic

Irish Independent

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