Paul O’Conor knows Limerick must “deliver” a performance against a dangerous Saint Patrick’s Athletic team, with the midfielder eyeing momentum with their upcoming fixtures.
The Shannonsiders returned from the midseason break with a 4-1 Munster Derby defeat at runaway leaders Cork City, a harsh scoreline given the opportunities that fell their way – O’Conor guilty of missing the most clear-cut one.
The 29-year-old now wants to repay the large travelling support that were at Turner’s Cross by returning to winning ways when the bottom-of-the-table Saints arrive to the Markets Field on Saturday evening (kick-off 6.30pm). But he insists their league position means little given the quality St Pat’s have in their ranks.
“It’s a big game, especially after losing the first game after the break. We’re still disappointed with that result; we played well in patches and created a lot of chances but this week the focus needs to be on taking the chances that we make,” Paul told LimerickFC.ie.
“That was the difference in Cork – they took all their chances. We had plenty of chances and just couldn’t put them away so I think the main thing is we make sure we create the same this week and put them away too.
“St Pat’s have had a fairly tough season. They have lost a lot of players since they won the league a few years back. They have kind of been picked apart with players. I think the big one for them was losing Jamie McGrath to Dundalk this year.
“But they’re a good team on their day. They’ve got Christy Fagan and Conan Byrne – they’ve got goals in their team. We need to be aware of that. We don’t need to look at their league position at the moment – I don’t think it matters.
“We’ve just got to make sure that we go out and be professional, and try to come away with three points. We’ve got to be ready for it. There are no walkovers in this league – anyone can beat anyone. We have to turn up, especially after the result last week.”
Limerick’s next trio of games presents them with a real opportunity to kick on – with trips to Drogheda United and Galway United to follow – and O’Conor agreed that they are all winnable. “On paper, they are,” he said.
“It’s about us being professional. We have to deal with St Pat’s first and then hopefully get points from the other games after that. If we win this weekend then it puts us in a great position to build momentum going into the following two. But it’s about this weekend first.
“We have to be confident. The game against Cork is gone – they won, they’re going to be the Champions. We forget about that quickly and we move on. We need a good performance, especially at home. We had a big crowd in Turner’s Cross and we obviously didn’t deliver, so we’d like to make sure we deliver this week.”
In their first meeting this season, Limerick took a 2-0 win away from Richmond Park in April after goals from Tony Whitehead and John O’Flynn – who could both miss Saturday’s clash – with Brendan Clarke saving a Conan Byrne penalty in between.
Limerick also took maximum points from the clubs’ previous clash in the Premier Division, in September 2015, as they won 3-1 at the Markets Field. The two Cup ties last year ended in favour of the Saints, in the FAI Cup in Dublin (2-0) and then the League Cup final on Shannonside (4-1).
Team News: Limerick manager Neil McDonald is waiting on the fitness of goalkeeper Freddy Hall (shoulder), defenders Shaun Kelly (ankle) and Tony Whitehead (dead leg), and striker John O’Flynn (groin), but will give all four every chance of making it.
Officials: Referee for the game is Jim McKell, his assistants are Allen Lynch and Emmet Dynan with the fourth official Eoghan O’Shea.
Preview Date: Friday 23 June 2017