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Mahon slams Hoops' refusal to move derby

ST PATRICK'S Athletic manager Pete Mahon has hit out at south Dublin rivals Shamrock Rovers' refusal to put back Sunday's derby clash (2.0) by 24 hours.

The Saints boss watched his side leapfrog the stuttering Hoops thanks to a 1-0 win over Bray at Richmond Park and the champions' defeat in Sligo on Friday.

But the meeting between the top two at Tallaght will take place just three days after Pat's make their European bow with an arduous trip to Iceland to face IBV Vestmannaeyjar on Thursday.

"We'd like it on Monday. We have our way of doing things here; other clubs have their way of doing it," he said. "We speak about co-operation; we co-operated with Dundalk (last season) and they've reciprocated it this year. One of our men represented Bohemians at (the Europa League) draw, which I think is the ultimate co-operation.

"I don't care what time we play them to be honest. The fact that it's 2.0 doesn't bother me. We'd play them anywhere, we'd be at the Phoenix Park at 12; I don't care. We'll go up there and do our best."

And Mahon didn't stop there, suggesting that third-placed Sligo Rovers pose a bigger threat than the Hoops.

"Sligo are a better team. That will probably be rammed down my throat next Sunday but I don't care -- I say what I feel. They seem to be a much happier squad in terms of being together."

Bray manager Pat Devlin has launched a broadside at referee Neil Doyle, who awarded Pat's a penalty early in the second half and sent off Adam Mitchell for what he adjudged to have been a handball on the line.

"I know I'm going to get disciplined for this but I'm going to say it -- the referee was shocking," said Devlin, who was sent off in the dying seconds of the match.

"I'm not taking anything away from St Pat's and I can take a beating, but some of the decisions out there were shocking. I've a player down there who is distraught, who maintains the ball hit him on the chest and that was the turning point.

"Some of the decision-making was dreadful and we were punished for that. I'll probably get a suspension or something now and can go away and have a holiday."

Meanwhile, Ireland's amateur team has qualified for the final of the UEFA Regions Cup for the first time after they came from behind to defeat Russia 2-1 in the searing heat of Barcelos yesterday.

Two goals in four second-half minutes from Chris Barbour and David O'Sullivan saw them through to the final tomorrow when they will take on hosts Braga.

Irish Independent