Buckley ready to shuffle the pack again as St Pat’s prepare to host Cork City

League title remains the clear priority for the Saints’ boss

Anto Flood, who may return for St Patrick’s Athletic tonight, celebrates a goal against Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

With Ian Bermingham, Greg Bolger and Anto Flood having used up one-game suspensions in their EA Sports Cup quarter-final defeat to Shamrock Rovers in midweek, St Patrick's Athletic report a clean bill of health as they strive to at least maintain their three-point lead at the top of the Premier Division table when Cork City visit Richmond Park tonight.

St Patrick’s made eight changes for the League Cup defeat at Tallaght Stadium, giving debuts to recent signings Rene Gilmartin and Lorcan Fitzgerald while also starting young squad members Sean Hoare and Peter Durrad.

"As much as you'd love to be putting out your best XI every week, you can't do that," explained St Pat's manager Liam Buckley.

“You need to make sure you balance it somewhere along the line. There are fellows carrying knocks and there is a suspension here or there. Fellows come in, and if we are going to get this over the line (win the league) we need to balance that out properly. You’ll see against Cork, there will be changes again.”


Shane Duggan returns from suspension for Cork who remain without injured defenders Darren Dennehy and Kevin Murray and midfielder Colin Healy. Midfielder John Dunleavy is a doubt while striker Denis Behan is unavailable due to family commitments.

Dundalk have key defender Andy Boyle and playmaker Richie Towell returning from suspension for the visit of Bray Wanderers to Oriel Park.

Keith Ward and John Mountey remain out injured while left-back Dane Massey (knee) will be given every chance to prove his fitness. Bray’s experienced midfielder Kevin O’Connor returns from suspension while new signing Stephen Quigley comes into the squad.

Adam Mitchell is banned, however, with Bray’s selection options further compromised by fellow defenders Danny O’Connor (Achilles) and Shane O’Connor (ankle) being out injured.

Anto Murphy, who re-signed back from non-league Sheriff YC this week, comes straight in to help shore up former club Bohemians’ defence in the absence of the suspended Derek Pender and Luke Byrne as the managerless Dubliners seek their first back-to-back wins of the season at home to Drogheda United.

An ankle injury almost certainly rules midfielder Shane Murray out though new recruit Stephen Doran may start.

Drogheda wait for injury checks on defenders Alan Byrne and Alan McNally as well as leading scorer Declan O’Brien while midfielder Eric Foley remains out injured.

Bottom side Shelbourne’s recovery isn’t helped by suspensions to regular central defenders Ian Ryan and Graham Gartland as they look for a third successive win at UCD

A thigh injury sees UCD midfielder Robbie Creevy join club captain Mick Leahy (groin) on the sidelines.