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Stephen O’Donnell believes St Patrick’s Athletic will need to stay
consistent if they are to mount a serious challenge for their first
SSE Airtricity Premier Division title since 2013 as they prepare to go
into the next block of nine games.

Table toppers Shamrock Rovers visit Richmond Park this Saturday 6.0
(Live on WATCHLOI) holding a two-point advantage over the second place
Saints and Head Coach  O’Donnell is aware of the type of performance
needed on Saturday evening.

“We know going in when you play Shamrock Rovers, you are going to have
to be at your best or somewhere very close to your best to get
something from the game. We also know that we have good players too so
they’re the games you look forward to as a coach and as a player, you
look forward to pitting your wits against the best teams.”

The unbeaten Inchicore Saints have six wins and three draws from the
first series of nine fixtures with one of those drawn games coming at
Tallaght Stadium on the opening evening of the season. There St Pat’s
were denied all three points when Aaron Greene’s late equaliser
cancelled out a Pico Lopes own goal, a deflected effort from Robbie
Benson’s shot.

If O’Donnell is looking for a typical example of consistency, he
doesn’t have to look any further that his talented defender Lee
Desmond and the St Pat’s boss readily recognises all the attributes
the Donaghmede native brings to the side.

 “Lee has just completed 200 appearances for the club having joined
from Shelbourne for the 2015 season after a spell at Newcastle United
and although he’s just 26 people might think he’s 28 or 29 as he’s
been around so long and has been excellent for us so far this season.

“His real consistency has gone up a level from the leadership
standpoint in training every day.

 “If you speak to people around the league who have come up against
him, he’s so highly rated within the league.

 “With Lee he needs to recognise it himself. He’s been hard on himself
a lot of the time. It’s recognising the attributes he does have and
what he does possess and maybe a little bit more of the perception of
him as well. So, it’s just marrying that all together.

“Lee is a thinker of the game; he loves football and he gives himself
the best opportunity. Football is the No 1 in his life. The more lads
you have like that the better and so far, this season he has been

It’s Desmond’s seventh season at Richmond Park after a journey that
has taken him from schoolboy football at St Malachy’s, Malahide United, Crumlin
United and Cherry Orchard to a spell with the Newcastle United
development squad.

He returned home in 2013 and joined Shelbourne where he stayed until
St Pat’s signed him ahead of the 2015 season. Along the way Desmond
was capped for the Republic of Ireland at Under 19 and 21 level.

While with goalkeeper Vit Jaros and Chris Forrester, Desmond has
started all nine of St Pat’s league games this season.

Desmond has become a fans’ favourite in his time with the St Pat’s and
is known for his excellent distribution and eagerness to start attacks
from deep at the heart of the Saints’ defence.

The defender admits to considering offers from the US and closer to
home prior to the start of this season but he opted to remain at
Richmond Park much to the relief of O’Donnell who admitted his relief
at keeping him on the books.

 “Other teams were interested, across the Atlantic and domestically as
well, so it was a real coup for the club to have Lee resign and I was
delighted to keep him onboard.”

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