Conan Byrne keen to see St Pat’s move one major step closer to qualification for Europe

Victory over fourth-placed Shamrock Rovers would be a big fillip for Liam Buckley’s champions

Conan Byrne

wants St Patrick’s Athletic’s form and focus to ensure they move a major step closer to securing a European place next summer when

Shamrock Rovers

visit Richmond Park tonight.


With only the top three guaranteed Europe via the league, Liam Buckley's champions currently hold a seven-point lead over fourth-place Rovers who have a game in hand. Though, as it stands, should both reach the FAI Ford Cup final they would both qualify.

“We’d be in the driving seat for Europe and that’s what we’d be aiming for,” said winger Byrne in insisting St Patrick’s are fully determined to take three points tonight.

“We’ll be going out to win the game. There would be no case of us going out looking for a draw. We have the players in the squad to win the game.

“They will be tough opposition, but we’ve been playing particularly well over the last couple of weeks.”

Midfielder Greg Bolger and central defender Ken Oman are suspended for St Patrick's, though regulars Ian Bermingham and central defender Kenny Browne return from injury.

Robert Bayly (flu) is Rovers' only absentee as manager Pat Fenlon looks to freshen up his side which looked a trifle jaded in salvaging a 1-1 draw with Bohemians at Dalymount Park on Tuesday night.

Save for their long-term injured Stephen O'Donnell and Simon Kelly, leaders Dundalk travel to the UCD Bowl in rude health following their EA Sports Cup win last weekend.

"Winning (the league cup) gives us great confidence to go on and win more now," said Dundalk winger Daryl Horgan. "We've five more cup finals to play. The aim is to win as many as we can."

UCD, now just two points ahead of bottom side Athlone Town, haven't won in eight games. They continue without the injured Mark Langtry, Tomas Boyle and Dean Clarke while defender Gareth Matthews is suspended.

Cork City will be hoping to capitalise on any unlikely surprise at Belfield when they host Sligo Rovers at Turner's Cross. Defender Darren Dennehy and Garry Buckley return from suspension for Cork who will give late fitness checks to midfielder Gearóid Morrissey and striker John O'Flynn.

Gavin Dykes continues in caretaker charge of Sligo whose injury list shows little sign of abating. Meanwhile, Limerick striker Rory Gaffney was yesterday named SSE Airtricity/Soccer Writers' Association of Ireland player of the month for August.