Having made their first visit to the redeveloped Brandywell last Friday night, Rovers returned home with a point but also some regrets that they didn’t earn the win after a spirited performance against Derry City.
Having stopped the Candystripes get a seventh successive league win, the test in Tallaght now on Monday night for the Hoops is to go head-to-head with last season’s double winners and current table toppers Cork City (kick off 8pm).
"I thought we were excellent,” said Hoops Head Coach Stephen Bradley about the 0-0 draw in Derry when speaking to shamrockrovers.ie ahead of the game. “We created a lot of chances and should have won the game. We should have scored a couple of goals. We were really good.
“The pleasing part was the performance and then to have so many chances in a place that's been hard for teams to go to this year.
"Most teams going there at the moment would take a point but I always felt that we could cause them problems like we did earlier on in the season (in a 6-1 win in Tallaght). We did that so we were disappointed not to come away with the three points.”
The scoreless game in the Bogside, meant back-to-back draws for the Hoops in the league after losing three on the bounce prior to that. Based purely on results it looks like Rovers are in a rut at the minute but their performances haven’t warrented their poor recent return.
Last time out in Tallaght they went 1-0 up early against Limerick, only to concede a late goal but the Hoops had dominated the game only to fail to exploit the myriad of chances that they created – Limerick scored from just the second shot they had on target.
“I think people have read a lot into a couple of bad results. We didn't become a bad team overnight and we showed that on Friday. We were just frustrated that we didn't win the game.
“The group are feeling good and the confidence wasn't an issue. The Limerick game should have been over at half-time. When we watched it back we'd played well but the scoreline put a damper on it.”
Striker Dan Carr has to serve out an additional game suspension following his recent red card in Bray and so Gary Shaw is likely to lead the line again. Hoops fans will hope Shaw can recapture the form of last season where he was Rovers’ top scorer with 11 league goals.
“It's always a big game when you play Cork. They're top of the league and they're champions. We know it's going to be a tough challenge but one we're really looking forward to. We want to play the best teams and Monday is a chance to do that.”
Against his former club Greg Bolger will likely partner his namesake Aaron in midfield. The 18-year-old has had limited game time this season but has played in the last two league games.
“There was a lot of very good performances in Derry but Aaron Bolger was excellent. It was a case of putting Aaron in at the right time this season and making sure he was fit enough and ready to go. We know his ability and he has slotted right in.”
John Caulfield’s charges earned their fourth straight league win last Friday night. The 1-0 victory had added delight for City as it came by defeating Dundalk, their regular rivals, with their fourth consecutive clean sheet this season.
City have been imperious at home with six wins from six but on their travels they have seen defeat on two occasions – losing to Dundalk and to Waterford. After the win over the Lilywhites, Caulfied wants to keep the momentum going and is targetting all three points in Tallaght.
“At the moment, you can’t enjoy any win, you just have to move on very quickly,” said the City boss speaking to his club’s website. “That’s what it is all about and all of our work since Saturday morning has been about Shamrock Rovers.
“There is no point taking three points last Friday and then leaving points behind us on Monday. If we are not at our best, we will leave points behind us and that is why we have to be at our best.
“We know how good they are, what good players they have and we need to make sure we are ready. They have had a bit of a blip lately, but they have probably been unlucky not to get a draw with Dundalk and a win against Derry, so we know they are a very good side.
“I am sure they are relishing us going up there tomorrow. We know they will see this as a massive opportunity being at home, but we have to concentrate on ourselves and make sure that we give a high level of performance."
When the sides met earlier in the season at Turner’s Cross, the Leesiders won 1-0 with Kieran Sadlier converting a first half penalty.
“We have done well, winning four games in a row and keeping four clean sheets, but if we go up and don’t perform to our best, we will drop points. We know it will be an extremely difficult game, because Rovers are a super team.
"If we play to our best, I believe we can take the three points and that is what we are working on.”
Referee: Rob Rogers
Shamrock Rovers have beaten Cork City on the last two occasions that the Leesiders have travelled to Tallaght – a 3-1 league win September and a 1-0 extratime win in the EA Sports Cup semi-final last August.
Hoops player Graham Burke is currently the league’s top scorer with eight goals but City’s Graham Cummins is just one behind him.
Only two players in Rovers’ squad have league medals. Club captain Ronan Finn has three, wining one with the Hoops in 2011 and two with Dundalk. Greg Bolger’s palmares includes two league titles, winning the first with St. Pat’s in 2013 and the second with Cork City last season.
Shamrock Rovers 2/1; Draw 2/1; Cork City 5/4.
Injured: Trevor Clarke.
Doubtful: Sean Boyd.
Suspended: Dan Carr.
Injured: Johnny Dunleavy.