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Season 2018-19
St. Patrick's Athletic (a)


Tuesday 17th July 2018, 7.45pm

 Richmond Park, Dublin

Conditions: pleasant

Admission: Ä15 sitting or standing



St. Patrick's Athletic

Newcastle United

0 - 2




41 mins Sean Longstaff marked his senior debut for the club by rifling home a left-footed 14 yard shot via the post following Matt Ritchie's dinked cross from the right side of the box. 1-0

Half time: Saints 0 Magpies 1

86 mins Kevin Toner fouled Dwight Gayle in the box and Christian Atsu converted the resultant penalty in front of the travelling contingent in the Cowshed End 2-0

Full time: Saints 0 Magpies 2

We Said

About the only thing he will be signing....


Rafa Benitez said after the game:

It's always important to have young players involved, It's an opportunity.

"I have to be fair, because Callum (Roberts) and Victor (Fernandez) were playing as full-backs and they are wingers, but we needed to be sure that we had enough legs in each position. They did well.

"You will ask me about
(Sean) Longstaff as he scored a goal, and (Josef) Yarney did well in defence also. It was positive for them and us, because we gave them an opportunity, and they did well.

"The main thing with young players is that they have to be focused and humble and keep working, and he
(Longstaff) did that.

Of rather greater consequence though were his comments to journalists hours earlier:

We have to fix a target to stay up. That is it. Concentrate on staying up, and after that, see where. It will be more difficult than last year. You donít know, because we finished tenth this year, we can be in the middle next season ó because everyone is spending.

"The reality is the Premier League is difficult and every year the others spend money and bring new players. Fulham, Wolves are spending. Huddersfield, Brighton everyone is spending making it more difficult. So the target will be to stay up.

"100%, it is harder to stay up this season. Fulham and Wolves have come up and have big money.

ďWhen you talk about the market, you know what offers they are making. They will be stronger at the beginning than Huddersfield and Brighton. Brighton and Huddersfield are already in the Premier League, they are spending some money. Then you see West Ham, they are spending some money.

"(we need to) see if we can find some players at the right price. It is not ideal but we will try to manage the best way possible. 

"I was expecting maybe something different but we will manage what it going on and try to be sure that we bring the best players possible with the conditions we have, and try to improve the squad.

"I hope I can still strengthen the squad. I have been trying hard for two months to be sure we have players to bring on loan.

"If you donít act quickly then you lose the opportunity, and the next player is more difficult, and the next maybe doesnít have the same quality.

"I have to just concentrate on bringing the best players for the squad. I donít do the numbers. I donít control the numbers. I know my numbers, but it is not my job to do accounts. The owner decides the money available and that is it.

(Ashley) said Ďevery last pennyí was available in the Press. I donít do the numbers, so I donít know exactly what it means. We are fine in terms of profit. Maybe you have to ask this question to Lee Charnley. He has the numbers.

"I am trying to do my best in these conditions, thatís what I can say. We were talking about the situation at this time. After, we were talking about numbers and the possibility of an extension.

"But I donít think an extension is an excuse for anything. If you sign a one-year extension, what does that mean for the players you sign on a five-year contract? Itís nothing. Itís not an issue.

"A lot of clubs have managers, they finish a contract but still they improve the squad to be sure they are better. Historically, you see the spending of different clubs and this one. I donít think itís an issue.

"But I am trying to bring the best players for the club. But we have a scouting department and everybody is working together. 

"Still, I donít think itís an issue with my contract. I told Mike and Lee and Justin
(Barnes - Sports Direct employee with strong influence in club affairs). 

"They know that, if we do the right things, then I am keen to stay here for five years or whatever, but they have to do things in the way that, for me as a football professional, there is a way to do things and we have to be sure that we do that.

"If you want to sign an extension for a lot of years, the main thing and the first one has to be the Academy, for example. Then all these things, you have everything in place. 

"I am really pleased with the fans, city, the atmosphere at the games, the staff are professionals, everyone. We have all the potential to grow and to be a top side, a proper top side.

"I need to talk with Lee
(about when contractual negotiations will resume). The last conversation was: ĎOh, we can talkí, but I think it is more important to be sure that we do the right things now and then after we have plenty of time to talk about that.

"Again I would say that my contract is not an issue. I am doing my best and a lot of managers, they finish a contract and still the clubs are investing and trying to improve the squad.

"Forget about [if I will get more money if I sign a new contract]. We have to concentrate on keeping the same atmosphere that we had last year, a team that really cares and worked really hard. And then trying to improve the squad, bring in more players and have more competition.

"I read your newspapers and I know that the fans are clever; our fans, they understand the situation. Everybody is expecting that if we can compete, can be stronger, then Rafa will be pleased and then is happy here. I donít think that the fans donít know the situation.

ďI will try to do my best and then hopefully, in a few weeks, things can be better and then we can keep talking. I think they understand clearly the situation, We will see at the end of the window how well we did. We are working to add players to improve the squad.

"Every manager wants something more. I am happy with the three players we have signed. We have more or less a similar team to what we had last year. Now we have to keep growing and improving. I have tried to do my best - but we will see later on."

They Said

Donald Trump popped in en route to Finland


Liam Buckley said: 

to follow.


Midfielder Sean Longstaff and defender Josef Yarney had first senior outings for the club, while there was a second appearance for Victor Fernandez, who debuted in our friendly with Royal Antwerp in Spain last March.

What were termed slight injury issues meant that Jamaal Lascelles, Paul Dummett and Jacob Murphy didn't feature, but were all spotted watching the game. 

try as he might, our captain just couldn't get a shift swap

With Darlow and Sels selected for duty, there was no place in the matchday squad for Martin Dubravka, Rob Elliot or Freddie Woodman - all of whom had been at Carton House. Full back Jamie Sterry was also at Carton House but didn't feature tonight - reason unknown.

Other absentees were Aleksandar Mitrovic and Ki Sung-yueng (post World Cup break), Chancel Mbemba (set to move on) Isaac Hayden (released from the squad following a transfer request), Jack Colback, Henri Saivet, Nathan Harker and Dan Barlaser (training with the U23s)

The Dubliners: modern era Magpies visits:

2018/19 St. Patrick's Athletic won 2-0
2016/17 Bohemian won 6-0
2009/10 Shamrock Rovers won 3-0
2005/06 Bray Wanderers won 7-1
1998/99 Bohemian drew 1-1
1998/99 Bray Wanderers won 6-0
1997/98 PSV Eindhoven won 3-2*
1997/98 Derry City won 2-0*
1977/78 Bohemian drew 0-0 (UEFA Cup)

* Dublin Tournament @ Lansdowne Road

Pre-season pitch time (in minutes):

Aarons 45=45
Atsu 45=45
Clark 45=45
Darlow 45=45
Diame 45=45
Gayle 45=45
Joselu 45=45
Kenedy 45=45
Lejeune 45=45
Longstaff 90=90
Perez 45=45
Ritchie 45=45
Roberts 45=45
Shelvey 45=45
Yarney 90=45




Newcastle began their pre-season fixtures with a comfortable victory their League of Ireland hosts at Richmond Park on Tuesday, 20 of the 27 players who had participated in a training camp at nearby Carton House featuring on a fine night in the Dublin suburbs.

However the on-field action became almost incidental within 48 hours, overshadowed by comments from Rafa Benitez to media reporters hours before kick-off.

In a no-holds barred interview, the Magpies boss revealed his frustrations with the club's continued inability to deliver on their promises, providing a downbeat assessment of what next season holds for a side who finished tenth last time round: becalmed at best - or battling a rise tide of relegation. 

Back to the pitch though and a low-key opening saw Joselu shoot narrowly wide on seven minutes - by which time Florian Lejeune had become the first player to kick the ball out of the ground, his hoofed clearance ending up in the river that flows behind one terrace.  

On what looked like an excellent playing surface, neither side mustered much in the way of attacking threat until the 41st minute, when debutant Sean Longstaff rifled home a left-footed 14 yard shot via the post following Matt Ritchie's dinked cross from the right.

Winless in their last seven league games, but with the advantage of not playing this game in close proximity to a competitive one (unlike our previous Irish opponents Shamrock and Bohs), the hosts came close to levelling before the break when Simon Madden colliding with Karl Darlow.

The St. Pat's player had only recently arrived on the field as a replacement for an injured colleague and left his mark on goalkeeper Karl Darlow as he tried in vain to guide the ball goalwards.

Looking to be in some discomfort, Darlow made way for Matz Sels after the break in what was one of nine planned changes; rookie duo Longstaff and Josef Yarney the sole survivors. 

The result was a more energetic and impressive 45 minutes, Jonjo Shelvey to the fore as the black and whites belatedly found their shooting boots and Dwight Gayle added much-needed forward threat, shaving the post with one effort.

St. Pat's - featuring ex-Magpie reserve Lee Desmond - struggled with the pace of Christian Atsu in what was his comeback game since undergoing knee surgery and one or two keen tackles ensued.

The Ghanaian twice saw goalbound shots blocked, goalkeeper Barry Murphy denied Adam Armstrong and Gayle and DeAndre Yedlin both sent efforts whistling narrowly over the crossbar.

A low-key return for Kenedy became rather more noticeable with 11 minutes left, as he forced his way into a shooting position before leaving the goal frame shaking after hitting it with a howitzer.

The Brazilian looked set to mark his second spell at the club with a goal, when former Aston Villa defender (and colleague of Ciaran Clark) Kevin Toner fouled Gayle in the box on 86 minutes. 

Expecting to take the resultant spot kick, Atsu had other ideas and held on to the ball while arguing his case - even concealing it up his shirt. He got his way and duly sent a left footed shot down the middle of the goal as Murphy dived out of the way, giving the scoreline a more respectable look.

This was the expected positive start to pre-season, with the hosts never really threatening any upset despite the United defence having a makeshift look at times - both Victor Fernandez and Callum Roberts deputising at full back.

The Magpies now prepare for Tuesday's trip to Championship side Hull City -  by which time there will be barely a fortnight until the earlier-than-usual transfer window closure.

They may have boosted his approval ratings and succeeded in stirring some supports into reprising familiar anti-Ashley sentiments, but Rafa's comments will do nothing to break the current impasse between him and the owner over a contract extension in return for more transfer funds. 

Unless there's a radical rethink from Shirebrook, it seems inevitable that Rafa will remain in post until his contract concludes next June - doing his level best to keep the club in the top flight, before putting his glasses in his pocket and walking away.

What has to be questioned though is just why he went on the record again - and was allowed to do so - in the knowledge that confrontation of this nature with this owner consistently backfires.

Spoiling for a fight, playing to the gallery or simply reaching the end of his tether - take your pick.  


We're sorry to report that Ashington Mag Clayton 
Elliott passed away in hospital while tonight's game 
was taking place - condolences to friends & family.

Page last updated 28 August, 2018