"Saints" discipline dearly costing Kenny
Article by Kieran Burke - @KieranBTS
While media attention is certain to turn to St.Patrick’s Athletic and their European situation over the coming days and weeks, “Saints” boss, Harry Kenny has a major task on his hands on the field of play, following a well below par start to the 2019 campaign by the Inchicore outfit.
Chalked up as many punters outside tip for a title charge, following the arrival of several high-profile names over the off-season, St.Pat’s currently find themselves just two points above the relegation play-off position and a massive sixteen points behind leaders and Dublin rivals, Shamrock Rovers.
Few could have envisaged such difficulties for the “Saints” this season, particularly after winning their opening two league matches of the campaign and going unbeaten inside the opening for fixtures. So what has been the factors behind Harry Kenny’s struggles in the St.Pat’s hot-seat?
Certainly, a slow start to life at the club for a number of Kenny’s so called “marque” signings has put pressure on the former Bray Wanderers boss, with Chris Forrester in particular failing to reach what was perhaps always unrealistic expectations from supporters and pundits alike. Individual errors, particularly at the back, have also played a vital role in, at least some, of the “Saints” four league defeats in the opening ten rounds of matches so far.
However, one very notable dimension to the multiple interesting statistics surrounding St.Pat’s this year has been the high volume of red cards for Harry Kenny’s charges. In recent games alone we have seen Mikey Drennan, Kevin Toner and Dave Webster receive their marching orders with the “Saints” failing to win any of those matches. Match officials have also been busy handing out yellow cards to the not so holy “Saints, with no less than 19 bookings spread out among eight outfield players to date.
Frustration has clearly played a part in such a disciplinary record with Mikey Drennan’s record card coming off the back of a second yellow for dissent, while Dave Webster suffered what can only be described as a moment of madness when he appeared to make contact with a Cork City player off the ball in the recent 1-1 draw at Turners Cross. One can only ponder what way that game may have ended up had Webster managed to keep his cool and avoid an early shower but the question now is how Harry Kenny and his backroom team deal with such unhelpful acts from what are more than experienced individuals.
With back to back away games at notoriously tough venues in the Sligo Showgrounds and Finn Park over the next couple of days for the Dublin club, Harry Kenny can ill afford to travel to such venues without his top players. Likewise, St.Patrick’s Athletic are now in a position where every point is crucial in a battle to get back into a European race for next season and playing out fixtures with anything less than eleven players on the field of play could kill off such hopes.
UCD AFC are the next side to visit Richmond Park in the Premier Division and given the “Students” run of results and performances in recent weeks this is now a crucial set of fixtures coming up for Harry Kenny and co. While it may be too early to suggest such a high caliber set of players could be involved in any sort of scrap for survival this season, it might be fair to say their manager can ill afford many more setbacks in his new position and his players must now show they have the fight and desire to perform for their manager, but discipline must be maintained in any such battle.
St.Pat’s poor start to the 2019 season was one of many talking points on last night’s Between the Stripes LOI podcast. Catch the show in full below and don’t forget to subscribe.