Shamrock Rovers v Bohemians
It’s top versus bottom in one of two Dublin derbies tonight as the Gypsies travel to Tallaght to take on the current league champions. Rovers are unbeaten in the league so far and have dropped just two points, in the 1-1 draw with Cork City at Turner’s Cross, while Bohs picked up their first point of the campaign in a 0-0 stalemate at home to St Pat’s on Sunday.
“This is a David v Goliath battle,” Bohemians boss Aaron Callaghan said. ”It used to be David v David. Look at their five strikers to our three. Each of them is on three times the pay of our highest paid and they have all won honours in the league.
“They have to be really, really up for this game. If our attitude is right and the players are mentally strong and the opposition has an off-day, you never know what can happen.”
“Derby games are always a test – there usually isn’t much in them and they are often decided by just one goal. We will take confidence from our 4-0 win over Shelbourne last week, but we don’t underestimate anyone in this league, especially not in a derby game,” added Stephen Kenny.
Ciaran Kilduff (broken metatarsal), Conor Winn (back) and Stephen O’Donnell (knee surgery) remain out of the Hoops squad through injury. Conor Powell and Gary McCabe are both suspended. Goalkeeper Reyaad Pieterse comes into the squad after he received permission to work in Ireland last week.
For Bohs, Keith Ward (calf) and Danny Joyce (groin) are back to full training and may be fit for selection. Flu is continuing to affect members of the squad. Luke Byrne has returned to training after being out for two weeks but Keith Murray and Andy Mulligan are currently laid low.
Drogehda United v Derry City
Drogheda recorded a 4-2 win away to Bray last weekend but face more formidable opposition in Derry City at Hunky Dorys Park tonight. Candystripes manager Declan Devine will ensure that his side are aware of the danger United will pose on their home patch.
We fully expect a very difficult game in Drogheda. Mick Cooke has not just strengthened his starting eleven but his squad as a whole. I feel that Mick has added some talented players and with eight goals scored in their first four games they now pose a real goal-scoring threat to any team,” Devine said.
His opposite number Cooke said: “Derry City are going to push Shamrock Rovers all the way this season and it’s going to be a tough match. Declan Devine has carried on fromStephen Kenny and they are no pushovers. It will no doubt be a big test for us.”
Drogheda’s Cathal Brady is the only definite absentee while Peter Hynes, Ryan Brennan and Declan O’Brien are all doubts. Derry City are without Eddie MaCallion due to an ankle injury while Stephen McLaughlin (hamstring) and Patrick McEleney (toe) will undergo late fitness tests.
Cork City v Bray Wanderers
Cork welcome Bray with the intent of leapfrogging a couple of the sides ahead of them in the Premier Division table by taking their first three points of the season from the Wicklow club.
The Seagulls have one win from four, away to UCD, and have tasted defeat in their other three games so far and manager Pat Devlin is looking to bounce back at Turner’s Cross.
“It’s great that Cork are back n the Premier Division. Turner’s Cross is a great place to go to play football and let’s hope the lads will respond after the disappointment of last week,” Devlin said.
“We need to be positive and play at a good tempo in order to try and win the match. It is still early in the season, and nothing is decided at this point, but we want to get that first win under our belts,” added Cork gaffer Tommy Dunne.
Cork midfielder Shane Duggan returns from suspension but Stephen Mulcahy, Kevin Murray and Neal Horgan all remain sidelined with knee injuries. John Dunleavy is a major doubt with flu.Bray are without Adam Mitchell (concussion) and suspended Dane Massey. Long term injury victims Shane O’Connor and Stephen Brennan remain out.
Saints defender Conor Kenna challenges Shelbourne striker Philly Hughes last season. Credit: INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan
Shelbourne v St Patrick’s Athletic
Two more Dublin-based clubs go head-to-head as St Pat’s make the trip across the Liffey to Tolka Park. Both clubs have had strong starts to the league but received set-backs during weekend four – Shels were thumped 4-0 by Shamrock Rovers after goalkeeper Dean Delaney saw red early on, while the Saints were held by Bohemians in a drab affair.
“I would have liked to play Rovers with eleven players,” Shelbourne manager Alan Mathews speaking on last week’s game. “It was always going to be a big test for us after such an early red card.”
“It will be tough, but there’s no easy game in this league and we’ll be looking for the three points after the Bohs game last week.” – Pat’s defender Kenny Browne.
Shelbourne are at full strength bar Paul Byrne (ankle injury) and suspended goalkeeper Dean Delaney.
UCD v Monaghan United
A single point separates these two, who meet at the Belfield Bowl this evening. UCD picked up their only three points with a win over Cork on the opening day and Monaghan have recorded two draws and two defeats this season.
Students boss Martin Russell: “We know that Roddy Collins will have them fired up, they play attractive football at a high pace. They have competed admirably in each of their games so far I don’t see why it would be any different against us. We know again we have to be on top form again to get what we want, which is obviously a win.”
I believe that we are very close to our opening win in the league and hopefully it will come at the Bowl against UCD. I am still missing a few of my key players through injury,” said Mons chief Roddy Collins.
UCD have Mick Leahy back in contention but Paul Corry suffered a setback after picking up a knock the EA SPORTS Cup win over Waterford. Samir Belhout returned to training on Monday but will not feature. Gary Burke is close to a return. Paul Whelan, Shaun Maher and John Reilly remain out for Monaghan.
Sligo Rovers v Dundalk
Sligo have made a great start under Ian Baraclough and are level at the top alongside Shamrock Rovers at this early stage. Dundalk’s young team scored their first goals of the season in the 2-0 victory over UCD on Friday night and will travel to the Showgrounds in high spirits.
“Dundalk are coming on the back of a good win and I don’t see any difference between this game and any other home game we have faced so far,” said Baraclough.
It will be just as difficult. We had to work very hard against Monaghan, which is something you have to do when you face any team in this league. As far as I have seen so far, there is no weak team in the division.”
Dundalk’s Sean McCaffrey: “It was good to get both, the first goal and the win tonight. I was glad we scored because we haven’t been playing badly. In the first three matches we haven’t done badly.”
Sligo defender Alan Keane returns from suspension but Mark Quigley continues to serve a ban while Pascal Millien will not be available.