Shamrock Rovers -v- Derry CitySat, Oct 13 2012
It is a 7pm Saturday evening kick off for Shamrock Rovers and Derry City at Tallaght Stadium this weekend due to Friday’s Ireland Germany international game. Rovers have been promoting this game against Derry with the German away fans hoping to swell their attendance as they did when Germany last played in Ireland in 2007.
Back then over 700 German fans came to see Rovers play Drogheda in Tolka Park. The Hoops will also be welcoming former Ireland international Dave Langan to Tallaght. Langan, a Rovers fan from his days growing up in Ringsend, will be doing a book signing at the stadium from 6pm.
On the pitch Rovers go in search of all three points as they continue their quest for third place in the league and an automatic European qualification. If they can’t finish third, they will need a win for St. Patrick’s Athletic in the FAI Cup final against tonight’s visitors to Tallaght in order to give the Hoops a place in Europe in 2013.
Missing for Rovers will be Colin Hawkins and Gary McCabe due to suspension. McCabe’s recent goal scoring form will be a loss as he has scored four goals from his last three games. Killian Brennan, who opened the scoring in Rovers’ 3-1 away win in Bray last week, picked up a first half calf injury and faces a fitness test. Conor McCormack will also undergo a pre-match fitness test.
Rovers will be hoping that Derry will be distracted by their upcoming FAI Cup final and Shamrock Rovers director of football Brian Laws was an interested spectator for the Candystripes’ semi-final win over Shelbourne. "Congratulations to Derry on their qualification for this year's FAI Ford Cup Final,” said Brian Laws. “We saw them during the week, so we know what we are facing on Saturday night. They had two tough games in the past week, so we will be looking to get in control early to get the three points and continue our winning run.
"It is very important that we continue winning to keep the pressure on the top three and keep ourselves in contention for a European qualification place come the end of the season in a few weeks."
Derry City come into Saturday’s game on a high having qualified during the week for their first FAI Cup final since 2008. It was an impressive win for the Candystripes in Tolka Park on Wednesday as they overcame Shelbourne 3-0. It was a man of the match performance by Stephen McLaughlin who scored two goals with David McDaid adding the third.
Declan Devine will use the match against the outgoing champions as preparation for November’s Cup final. Speaking to www.bbc.co.uk Devine said "Playing Shamrock Rovers away is good preparation for what is to come and is the benchmark for teams in terms of difficult venues. It will be a big test at a good venue with a good stadium and a good atmosphere.
“Places in the cup final team are up for grabs and we must be focused. Those members of the squad who haven't played much recently have the opportunity to get some game time under their belt and increase their sharpness.”
It is August since Derry’s last away win in the league when they beat Shels 2-0. Due to Monaghan United’s withdrawal from the league earlier in the season, Declan Devine’s men only have two league games left including this one in Tallaght. Derry have already won in the Dublin 24 venue this season but that was in the Setanta Sports Cup. In the league, the two sides drew 1-1 earlier in the season in Tallaght with McDaid getting the goal for the Derry that day. “Our record on their patch is not bad this year and we want to remain unbeaten there,” said Devine.
Referee: Paul McLaughlin.
The teams have played each other four times already this season; twice in the Airtricity league and twice in the Setanta Cup. Rovers have two wins, Derry one with one draw. Derry dethroned Shamrock Rovers as Setanta Sports Cup Champions when they won the semi-final first leg 3-0 in Tallaght with Rovers winning the away leg 2-0 to lose on aggregate.
Gary Twigg looks set to finish top scorer in the Airtricity League for a third season out of the last four. He has scored 19 league goals this season to date, bringing his overall tally of league goals to 79 from just 87 games.
The last time the sides met was in the Brandywell in late July where Rovers left Derry with all three points following a 1-0 win and Ronan Finn’s solitary goal on the night.
Shamrock Rovers 4/7; Draw 13/5; Derry City 9/2.
Shamrock Rovers 2-1 Derry City
Shamrock Rovers Injury News: Graham Gartland, Conor Winn.
Shamrock Rovers Suspension News: Colin Hawkins, Gary McCabe.
Derry City Injury News: None.
Derry City Suspension News: None.
Macdara made his debut as a football supporter in Lansdowne Road watching Ireland defeat Liechtenstein. He still believes one day he will see his club Shamrock Rovers win an FAI Cup. You can follow Macdara on twitter @macdarabueller