Madden set for new challenge with Pat’s

By Stephen Leonard

TALLAGHT’S Simon Madden is looking forward to helping St Patrick’s Athletic in their bid to secure a return to European football this year.

After not receiving a contract extension with Shamrock Rovers at the end of last season’s campaign, the highly-rated full-back had his services snapped up by the Hoops’ Inchicore rivals soon after.

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Credit Darragh Connolly (Connolly Photographs) for the photo

The move certainly hadn’t been on Madden’s radar who, up until November, felt he would be lining out for his fifth season with the Tallaght side.

“I wasn’t expecting it to be honest” Madden told Echo.ie “To get a phone call to tell me there was nothing there for me.

“I had spent four years with the team and I can look back on my time there with pride. I felt I played really well. I gave it everything.

“But that’s football. You can’t be surprised when things like that happen.

“I was just lucky. There were offers there for me and I got a very good one from St Pat’s.

“I didn’t think about the rivalry between the two teams [Rovers and Pat’s]. Rovers didn’t want me and a player has to try and get the best offer that he can and Pat’s gave that to me” he said.

The acquisition of Madden is a major one for St Pat’s who will be eager to make a huge improvement on last season’s eighth place finish in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division.

Manager Liam Buckley has certainly been getting his house in order with the likes of strikers Thomas Byrne and Dean Clarke and midfielder Ryan Brennan joining Madden among the team’s new signings while the Saints have also nailed down the services of some of their more experienced players like Ian Bermingham and Conan Byrne with contract extensions.

It is just the quality of personnel Buckley was looking for as he prepares for another long campaign that opens up with a match against defending champions Cork City in Richmond Park on February 16.

And playing alongside such players is very encouraging for Madden who said “I’m really happy with the set-up here. There are good players here and a good squad and hopefully we can push on from last season.

“They [Pat’s] had a bad start last year, but they had some good results towards the end of the season.

“Getting back into Europe is our main objective and we need to get a good start and build on that momentum.

“Playing the champions in our first match will be tough, but it’s probably a good time to play them. At home, I feel we should be able for anybody.

“A win would be huge for us. You definitely have to get a good start in this league if you’re to have a chance of getting one of those European spots.

“You find the league breaks up into two at the halfway point with the top sides challenging for Europe, so hopefully we can stay in that top half and really challenge for the top four,” he added.

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