Rohan Ricketts 50' -
Domestic games don't come bigger than the clash on Thursday night in Tallaght Stadium as table toppers Shamrock Rovers welcome third placed Derry City in a game that will have a huge impact on the destination of the 2011 Premier Division title. (kick-off 7.05pm)
A win for Shamrock Rovers would create a four point gap for the Hoops at the top of the table with two games remaining. If Derry City can win, it would leave Sligo Rovers a point behind Shamrock Rovers, with the Candystripes a point further back.
Gary O’Neill (calf) is a doubt for the Hoops, while Dean Kelly is back in training after his long injury lay-off, but is not expected to make this game. Enda Stevens will be assessed before the game as he is returning from international duty the Ireland U21 squad.
Hoops boss, Michael O’Neill said: “This is a huge game for us, for both sides really. A win in this fixture would give us a good cushion at the top of the league, and that will be our aim going into the game.
“The lads did very well to get the win on Sunday, and they will need to do the same against Derry. It’s sure to be a tight game, and we’ll need to work hard. But the players are very much up for that and are looking forward to the game.
“It’ll be important to have a good crowd ahead of us on the night, and that the crowd get behind the team for the full 90 minutes. We have to use the benefit of this game being in Tallaght.”
Derry City manager Stephen Kenny will have to plan without the services of Eddie McCallion and Owen Morrison as both suffer with calf problems. Ryan McBride has improved following a groin strain and he will be assessed prior to the game on whether he will be fit.
Talking to the Derry Journal this week, Kenny was clear he is not going to go to Tallaght with anything other than a win on his mind. “The Rovers match is not a league title decider, but it’s a tremendous opportunity for us to remain in the race and attempt to achieve something that has never been achieved before. I think it’s fair to suggest that we have surprised many with our performances this season, but we have ambition and we’ll be taking that to Tallaght. We can’t afford to be cautious, we’ve got to try to win the game,” he concluded.
Tickets for the game will be available at the ticket booths at Tallaght Stadium on the night, priced €15 for adults, €10 for students and senior citizens and €7 for children.
Doubtful: Dean Kelly, Gary O'Neill and Enda Stevens
Injured: Eddie McCallion, Owen Morrison
Doubtful: Ryan McBride
Referee: Alan Kelly
Paddy Power Odds: Shamrock Rovers evens; Draw 11/5; Derry City 11/4
Extratime prediction: Keeping the league title race alive, going out on a limb and saying Derry to win 1-0.