Kevin Toner 77' -
Fourth-placed Hoops host the Saints who sit just one place behind them in the early season table in the South Dublin Derby on Friday night at Tallaght Stadium (with a kick off of 8pm).
Rovers come into this game in mixed fortunes, following last Friday and Monday’s games.
Under the Friday night lights of Tallaght Stadium, the Hoops hit Derry for six, thanks to a four goal salvo from the talismanic Graham Burke. Ronan Finn and Sean Kavanagh notched the other two but perhaps the score-line was a bit flattering in the end.
There was dissapointment though in their most recent fixture though, away to Cork on the Monday. They suffered a 1-0 defeat, their second away defeat of the season. Kieran Sadlier's 38-minute penalty condemned Rovers to another defeat on Leeside. The Hoops haven’t won in Turners Cross since 2013.,
The Hoops are unbeaten in their three home games so far. After drawing 0-0 with Dundalk, they dispatched Bray and Derry in devastating fashion scoring a dozen goals in the process.
Following the loss in Cork, Hoops Head Coach Stephen Bradley told his club’s official website that it was a tight game.
“I thought we should have stopped the cross but we didn’t,” said Bradley about the buildup to the spotkick conceded by ‘keeper Kevin Horgan. “The header hits the post and lands at his feet and we give away the penalty. It was a penalty but I thought overall, when we played and moved the ball we created many problems for them.
“We just didn’t do it for long enough periods. That was the disappointing thing coming out of the game.”
When discussing their Dublin counterparts that they face on Friday, Bradley acknowledged that his charges didn’t perform against the Saints last season – the drew the league game in Tallaght 1-1 and lost both matches in Richmond Park.
“We know that against Pat’s last year we didn’t perform to our levels. We’ve got to try and put that right tomorrow. Those results get under my skin whether it’s Pat’s, Dundalk or Cork. Three points is three points, it shouldn’t mean more that it’s Pat’s or anyone else, three points are up for grabs.”
“We know it’s going to be a tough game. They’re doing okay and we know we need to up our game but if we do that I think we’ll be fine. We’ve got to be ready for it, it’s a Dublin derby and they’ll come and play.”
Everyone associated with Rovers will hope their devastating home form continues against a dogged St Pats side.
ST. PATRICK’S ATHLETIC
The Inchicore outfit come into this derby with high confidence, following two good results in their most recent games.
On Friday night, the Saints were away to Bohemians. Keith Ward missed a penalty for the home side in the opening minutes, but former Rovers winger Dean Clarke notched his first goal for the club after good work down the right by another ex-Hoop Simon Madden.
St. Pat’s dug deep to solidify the three points afterwards, and showcased plenty of steel and determination which was perhaps lacking last season, where relegation was a big possibility.
Their hard work was even more evident on Monday night, where the Saints held Dundalk to a scoreless draw at Richmond Park. They put in a solid defensive performance over the 90 minutes, with both Kevin Toner and Lee Desmond impressing.
That was the type of fixture that Pats rolled over in last year, so to limit the Lilywhites like they did showed that they have turned a corner from last season.
When asked about the Dundalk game and what he expects from his old club on Friday, boss Liam Buckley told his club’s official twitter account, @stpatsfc, that he expects a tough game in Dublin 24 for his men.
“There always tight games up in Tallaght, where we have had plenty of wins and great support in the past, so hopefully we can work hard and get something from the game.
Despite the fact that Rovers have scored 12 goals in their last two home games, Buckley was in bullish form.
“Dundalk have scored a lot too but we kept a clean sheet against them. We need to be organised obviously to try negate their strengths going forward, but equally we need to work on our strengths going forward to in order to win games
“There’s a fine line between not losing and trying to win games, and I prefer us to try win games.”
For goalkeeper Barry Murphy, he admitted to stpatsfc.com that Friday's game presents an opportunity to continue to build on the momentum from the two results recorded in the last week.
"It was a real shift put in by the lads on Monday night against Dundalk, especially coming off the back of the game against Bohs. A few people were out on their feet at the end but we battled until the end and got a good point so we are looking to continue this mini run of results we are currently on.
Referee: Derek Tomney
The sides have played each other 53 times in Premier Division action. Pats winning 21 ties, Rovers winning 19 and there has been 13 stalemates. There has been an average of 2.5 goals per game in each of these 53 fixtures.
Current Saints Barry Murphy, Simon Madden, Ian Bermingham, Ryan Brennan, Killian Brennan, James Doona and Dean Clarke have all played for the Hoops. Doona and Madden both played for the club last season. Rovers pair David McAllister and Greg Bolger have played for Pats.
Both sides have the same league record so far; Won two, drawn one and lost two.
Shamrock Rovers 5/6; Draw 5/2; St Patrick’s Athletic 3/1.
Shamrock Rovers 1-1 St. Patrick’s Athletic
Doubtful: Ally Gilchrist
St Patrick’s Athletic
Big day tomorrow; plan ahead! pic.twitter.com/bkyLKl3rLs— Shamrock Rovers F.C. (@ShamrockRovers) March 15, 2018