AUTHOR: Kieran Burke – @Kieran_B_Sport.
Attack, attack, attack will be the mantra of St.Patrick’s Athletic this season with the Saints assembling an arsenal of lethal marksmen. Arriving back in Ireland after over a decade in the UK, where he notched up over a century of career goals, is Eoin Doyle. Despite having time left to run on his contract at Bolton Wanderers, St.Pat’s have been able to tempt the two-time FAI Cup winner with Sligo Rovers back to the League of Ireland at a time when he is very much still in his prime.
If that wasn’t enough firepower, the Saints still have Ronan Coughlan to call upon while the signing of Tunde Owolabi from Finn Harps has gone under the radar a little bit given all the noise surrounding Doyle’s transfer. Dipping down into the midfield, Mark Doyle could be one of the coups of the window given his impressive goals record of 49 career goals in 142 games while the loan signing of Adam O’Reilly from Preston North End looks a shrewd one based on his short spell at Waterford last season.
Of course, St.Patrick’s Athletic have lost some major talent since their FAI Cup success in November, including their head coach Stephen O’Donnell. The former Dundalk skipper managed to intice Robbie Benson, John Mountney, and Sam Bone down the M1 to Oriel Park with him while Lee Desmond and Vítězslav Jaroš will prove major losses from last season’s success.
Anto Breslin is a quality addition at the back and will carry plenty of attacking threat from the left full-back area but overall there does appear to be something of an imbalance depth-wise from one end of the pitch to the other. There will be pressure on new boss Tim Clancy to build on the success of last season and that is not going to be easy given the strength of Shamrock Rovers and the investment at Derry City but there should be no shortage of entertainment value for the punters at Richmond Park this season……Expect goals, goals, goals.
BTS PREDICTION: 3rd
STAR PERFORMER: Tunde Owolabi
ONE TO WATCH: Anto Breslin (A good season, particularly in Europe, and he could earn a move back across to the UK).
Kieran Burke caught up with Eoin Doyle at a virtual press conference a few weeks ago, if you missed it you can catch it here.