League Preview: Finn Harps -v- Shamrock Rovers

Mon, May 20 2019

Aaron McEneff is a doubt for Rovers after pulling out of the warm-up at UCD on Friday night. Credit: Clare McCahill (ETPhotos)

FINN HARPS

A resurgent Finn Harps play host to joint-leaders Shamrock Rovers in Ballybofey with an opportunity to move clear of the automatic relegation spot for the first time (kick-off 8pm).

Harps moved above UCD, and into the play-off spot, on goal difference thanks to a dramatic 3-2 win over Waterford at Finn Park on Friday night.

Mikey Place scored twice in the first half but Damien Delaney’s 89th-minute equalizer looked to have given the Blues a point, only for Rovers loanee Sean Boyd to net a winner.

“We’re very pleased to get the three points against Waterford on Friday night,” manager Ollie Horgan told the club’s website.

“But, it was backs to the wall stuff for the most of the second half. We couldn’t retain possession apart from those couple of attacks.

“The lads put their bodies on the line defensively but we did concede a poor equaliser. In fairness we mounted another attack and Sean Boyd got the winner.

“Shamrock Rovers will come to Finn Park, feeling they have a very good chance of going back to the top of the table. 

“We’re 27 points behind them in the table, so our goal is totally different in trying to move away from bottom of the table.”

Boyd is unavailable to face his parent club, while Gareth Harkin is out for the season and Mark Timlin, Ciaran Gallagher and Harry Ascroft are also out.

Keith Cowan, Caolan McAleer, Mark Coyle and Sam Todd all return from suspension, but McAleer is a doubt with a slight injury.

SHAMROCK ROVERS

Shamrock Rovers travel to Finn Park hoping to capitalise on any slip-up by Dundalk against Bohemians.

The two sides are neck-and-neck at the top of the table, each with 37 points from 17 games, but the Lilywhites have a superior goal difference of five.

Friday night saw Rovers labour to a 1-0 win over UCD in Belfield, with Dan Carr’s first-half goal enough to earn Stephen Bradley’s side the points.

“They don’t change, UCD, they never do,” said Bradley.

“They stick to what they believe in and, at times, when they get out they cause you problems. But if you get it back you have a chance and we worked on our press all week.

“Apart from once or twice in the second half, our press was really good and we won the ball back in really good areas and maybe should have scored off the back of it.

“It’ll be a tough game, Finn Harps away. It always is and Monday will be no different. We’re playing well and we’re looking forward to it.”

Sean Kavanagh and Sam Bone miss out with injury while Aaron McEneff is a doubt after pulling out in the warm-up as a precautionary measure against UCD.

Referee: Robert Hennessy.

MATCH STATS

The sides have met twice so far this season, both times in March, with Rovers winning on each occasion.

Goals from Roberto Lopes, Dylan Watts and Aaron Greene saw Rovers to victory in Tallaght, while Greg Bolger got the only goal late on at Finn Park.

Ballybofey is 230.9km from Tallaght and it would take three hours and three minutes to drive there.

BETTING

Finn Harps 15/2; Draw 10/3; Shamrock Rovers 4/11.

PREDICTION

Finn Harps 0 – 2 Shamrock Rovers

Finn Harps

Injured: Harry Ascroft, Gareth Harkin, Ciaran Gallagher, Mark Timlin.

Doubtful: Caolan McAleer.

Suspended: None.

Unavailable: Sean Boyd (loan agreement).

Shamrock Rovers

Injured: Sam Bone, Sean Kavanagh.

Doubtful: Aaron McEneff.

Suspended: None.