Sunday 18 March 2018

Mahon hits out after Pat's dent Sligo hopes

St Pat's 1 Sligo Rovers 0

St Pat's boss Pete Mahon aired his frustrations after seeing his team put a huge dent in Sligo Rovers' title aspirations at Richmond Park on Saturday.

First to get it in it the neck were the fixture planners, with the Saints facing Bohemians in the Leinster Senior Cup final at Dalymount Park tonight, just four days before they face Shelbourne in their FAI Cup semi-final.

Considering the respective merits of each competition, ignoring tonight's match would seemingly be the wisest course of action. However, when winning is in your blood and your team has reached a final, emotion sometimes overcomes logic.

"The scheduling doesn't even bear thinking about," said Mahon. "And another thing that flabbergasts me was the situation in Andorra last Friday whereby an international match was sanctioned to go ahead by UEFA even though there were only 850 seats in the ground.

"Now bear in mind that this is the same crowd who told us to move our Europa League match against Karpaty to Tallaght because Richmond Park, in their eyes, wasn't up to scratch.


"So are we making up these laws as we go along? Maybe Mr Delaney would ask his friends in Europe why this is the case. Is it different in international matches to club football? Maybe it is, but I would like someone to explain it to me."

Paul Cook, Mahon's Sligo Rovers counterpart, must have felt equally frustrated -- albeit for different reasons -- after seeing his side conspire to a lose a game they completely dominated.

Sligo struck the woodwork twice and forced Gary Rogers into two brilliant saves from Alan Kirby and Gavin Peers. Eoin Doyle and Matthew Blinkhorn missed three clear openings before central defender Jason McGuinness deflected the hosts' Conor Kenna's 67th-minute shot past his own goalkeeper to give St Pat's their victory.

Yet just as his players had been charitable on the field, Cook was remarkably gracious off it, saying: "Luck is an irrelevance in sport. What annoys me is that people don't give other teams credit in this league for their qualities and St Pat's deserve huge respect for the way they won that game.

"Defensively they were superbly organised and resilient. That's a big part of the game and full respect to them for doing that.

"Of course I'm disappointed because had we won we would have put Derry City and Shamrock Rovers under severe pressure.

"Rovers are now in the driving seat, but we won't give up on it yet," added Cook, who will be hoping the Hoops-Derry match in Tallaght on Thursday ends in a draw.

St Pat's -- Rogers; Pender, Kenna, E McMillan, Bermingham; Murphy (North 77), Bradley, Mulcahy (D McMillan 37), Crowley, Doyle; D Kavanagh (Shortall 88).

Sligo Rovers -- Clarke; Keane, Peers, McGuinness, Davoren; Ryan, Ventre (Kirby h-t); Ndo, Russell, Greene (Cretaro 70); Blinkhorn (Doyle 58).

Ref -- T Connolly (Dublin).

Irish Independent

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