Friday night sees fifth-placed St Patrick’s Athletic play host to third-placed Shamrock Rovers at Richmond Park (kick-off 7:45 pm), in what is the last local derby of the SSE Airtricity Premier Division season.
ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC
St Pats will be searching for their first win in four games when they host city rivals Shamrock Rovers at Richmond Park.
The Saints have drawn their last two games in all competitions, however they have not tasted victory since beating Sligo Rovers 2-1 at the Showgrounds in the league on September 15th.
Last time out, they put in a magnificent performance by almost defeating the champions Dundalk in Oriel Park, conceding a last-minute-of-injury-time goal to draw 1-1 on Friday night.
Conor Clifford had put the Saints ahead from six yards out, his first for the club, ten minutes into the second half, after a nice knockdown by Michael Leahy in the six yard box.
Lee Desmond, fresh from penning a two year deal to remain at the club, started in a defensive midfield role and was excellent on the night.
Reflecting on the game, Pat’s skipper Ian Bermingham told his club’s official Twitter account, @stpatsfc, that last week’s game was very tough to take.
“I thought we did really well, we defended really well but I think we could have been a little bit better on the ball.
“There was passages of play where we did do well and we were so close to picking up the win, so it was a bit heart-breaking at the final whistle to be honest”
The result, coupled with Bohemians' defeat at home to Waterford on the same night, meant Pats rose a position in the league standings.
The Saints will be hoping for a repeat of their earlier 2-0 win in the season over the Hoops in Inchicore thanks to a penalty from Killian Brennan and an own goal from current Republic of Ireland international Graham Burke.
Ahead of the Dublin derby, ex-Hoop Bermingham is aware of the significance of a derby win and expects fireworks on the night.
“Both sides don’t really have anything to play for, but each team will be coming out all guns blazing trying to win the game. There will be a big crowd, as there always is.
“Training has been great this week and we will definitely be better on the ball than we were against Dundalk”
Ger O'Brien, the Inchicore club’s caretaker manager after Liam Buckley’s resignation a fortnight ago, has oversaw his side draw 1-1 with Shelbourne in the Leinster Senior Cup final two weeks ago and then the aforementioned Dundalk result.
Speaking to his club’s media team, the former right-back was delighted with last week’s result, but wants more from his side for the visit of Rovers on Friday night.
“Friday is the last Dublin derby of the season and we know it is a game that the supporters on both sides are keen to win.
“The players are no different. It doesn't matter whether it is the first game of the season or third last, the aim is always to win.
“In front of a bumper crowd in Inchicore on a Friday night, there is no extra motivation needed."
Shamrock Rovers come into this Dublin derby off the back of a 0-0 home draw against Cork City on Friday night.
Ronan Finn had a few opportunities to win the game for the Hoops on the night, but his header in the first half, amongst other chances, was cleared off the line.
Manager Stephen Bradley, speaking to shamrockrovers.ie, was disappointed that his side didn’t get the win on the night against an under-strength Cork side.
“I thought we deserved to win. Our overall play deserved the three points but we just couldn’t find a goal on the night. We were excellent and I thought was more about us missing chances than Cork defending well.
“We had two cleared off the line that we should have just burst the net with. We should have been out of sight at half-time.”
On Friday nights opponents, the young manager is aware that it will be a tough encounter.
“I’m sure it’s going to be a tough game. St Pat’s did well up in Dundalk last week and were unlucky not to win the game.
“Obviously they’re in a bit of transition with Liam Buckley leaving. He’d been there so long and brought a lot of success to that club. There’ll be a bit of change now.”
Like with most of their games this season, the former Limerick player wants his side to solely focus on themselves.
“We’ll go there looking to win the game, we’ll be focused. If we play like we did against Cork I’m sure we’ll be fine.
“You have to have eleven men on the pitch to give yourself the best chance of winning, that’s the same as any game, but our discipline has been excellent this season so I don’t think it [red cards in previous games at Richmond Park] will be an issue.”
As both Cork and Dundalk will contest their fourth FAI Cup final in-a-row in three weeks time, both Rovers and Waterford have secured European football for next season.
Although Europe is secure again, Bradley will want his charges’ to finish the season as strongly as possible.
“We didn’t speak about it [European qualification confirmed] really. Nothing has changed from our point of view.
“We want third place and we have prepared to achieve that over the last three games.“
Not only for bragging rights, Bradley will feel a strong finish to the season will motivate his squad to push Dundalk and Cork next season.
Referee: Mareks Kere (Latvia)
Both sides have played each other 56 times competitively. Pats marginally having the upper hand with 22 wins, Rovers winning 21 and there has been 13 draws.
There has been an average of 2.5 goals in those 56 games between the pair.
Home advantage has been key in the three meetings between the two this season. Rovers won 1-0 and 3-0 in Tallaght in March and May, respectively. Pats won 2-0 in Richmond in May.
Pats do not have the best record against fellow Dublin clubs this season. From the eight games that have been played against Rovers, Bohs and Shels in all competitions, they possess a record of two wins, two draws and four defeats.
From the 16 games played at home so far, St Pat’s have a record of nine wins, two draws and five defeats.
From their 16 games played away from home so far, Rovers have a record of six wins, four draws and six losses.
St Patrick’s Athletic 13/5; Draw 13/5; Shamrock Rovers 10/11
St Patrick’s Athletic 1-1 Shamrock Rovers
St Patrick’s Athletic
Injured: Christy Fagan (knee).
Doubtful: Achille Campion.
Doubtful: Aaron Greene, Brandon Miele.