League Preview: Shamrock Rovers -v- Dundalk

Fri, Jun 01 2018

Roberto Lopes of Shamrock Rovers competes with Dundalk's Jamie McGrath. Credit: Michael P Ryan

SHAMROCK ROVERS

Shamrock Rovers kick off June with the visit of league leaders Dundalk to Tallaght Stadium (kick-off 8pm – live on Éir Sport).

The Hoops' patchy form continued last Friday as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Bohemians at Dalymount Park, meaning they've won just once in their last five in the league.

Ronan Finn had given Rovers a lead in the final ten minutes, but ex-Hoop Rob Cornwall headed home in the dying moments to ensure the points were shared.

“There hasn't been much difference in the performances between home and away so we're disappointed that we haven't taken more points on the road,” manager Stephen Bradley told the club's media team.

“It's something we want to improve in the second half of the season and we know we can improve because our performances have been good.

“Dundalk are doing really well so I imagine it'll be a good game. They're a top team. It's going to be a really difficult challenge for us but it's a game that we're really looking forward to.

“Our two games this season were close games, I think there hasn't been much in it either way and both of us had chances to win them. I expect tomorrow night to be no different.

“The crowds in Tallaght have been good and it's another big game for us. If we just keep producing the levels that we have been the last few weeks in most of our games I think we'll be fine.”

Graham Burke misses out due to his involvement with the Ireland squad, while Brandon Miele is out with a hamstring problem and Sam Bone will be assessed before the game.

DUNDALK

Dundalk remain two points clear of champions Dundalk at the summit after they made it five league wins on the bounce at home to Bray Wanderers.

A brace from Pat Hoban and goals from Dylan Connolly, Jamie McGrath and Marco Tagbajumi saw the Lilywhites to a comfortable 5-0 win at Oriel Park.

This week was the first time since the end of April Dundalk didn't have a midweek game to contend with and the added freshness can only benefit the league's form side.

“The players are playing well at the moment,” manager Stephen Kenny told the club's official website.

“We are scoring a lot of goals and have a lot of confidence in the group. Shamrock Rovers have a very good home record.

“We know it will be difficult but the players are looking forward to the game. We have a lot of pace in our team. We are threatening every time that we go forward.

“The players are playing with real confidence at the moment and I want them to bring that confidence into the game at Tallaght Stadium tomorrow evening.”

Captain Stephen O'Donnell is out for the season with a broken leg, while John Mountney (knee) and Sean Gannon (ribs) also miss out.

 

Referee: Ben Connolly

 

MATCH STATS

The sides have already met twice this season, with the initial meeting in Tallaght finishing scoreless before Dundalk won 2-1 in Oriel Park.

Robbie Benson and Chris Shiels got the goals for the Lilywhites, while Dan Carr became the first player to score against Dundalk this season when he bagged a consolation.

The sides met a mammoth six times last season: three times in the league, twice in the FAI Cup and once in the EA Sports Cup final.

Dundalk lifted the EA Sports Cup thanks to a 3-0 win in Tallaght, with goals from Dave McMillan, Patrick McEleney and Tommy Stewart.

 

BETTING

Shamrock Rovers 10/3; Draw 12/5; Dundalk 5/6.

PREDICTION

Shamrock Rovers 1 – 1 Dundalk

 

Shamrock Rovers

Injured: Brandon Miele.

Doubtful: Sam Bone.

Suspended: None.

Unavailable: Graham Burke (international duty).

 

Dundalk

Injured: Sean Gannon (ribs), John Mountney (knee), Stephen O'Donnell (leg).

Doubtful: None.

Suspended: None.