ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC
The Dublin derby on Monday night sees fifth-placed St Patrick's Athletic host second-placed Shamrock Rovers at Richmond Park (kick-off 7.45 pm).
Harry Kenny's Saints claimed a 1-0 win at UCD on Friday night in their first game since the mid-season break.
Kevin Toner's bullet header 14 minutes before half-time from Mikey Drennan's corner gave the Inchicore club their ninth league win of the campaign.
Throughout the season, Pat's have struggled to score goals but have remained defensively solid in nearly all fixtures.
The game at the UCD Bowl perfectly emphasised this and the Athletic have won their last two games as a result, without conceding.
Speaking to his club's official website Harry Kenny, himself a former Shamrock Rovers player, was delighted with the grit and determination shown by his charges in the UCD win, and challenged his men to keep the momentum going in Monday night's derby.
"We picked up a good win on Friday night as UCD are always tough opponents,” said Kenny.
“I thought our performance was good, but we need to more clinical in front of goal and with the chances we create."
The ex-Bray Wanderers boss was in complimentary mood and expects a tough game against the team occupying second place in the league standings.
"We know what to expect on Monday from Shamrock Rovers. They are a really talented team.
"We have had two tight results against them this season so we have to make our chances count.
“It's a Dublin derby and Richmond will have a good crowd and atmosphere so the players are looking forward to the game."
The Saints will give a late fitness test to defender Dave Webster on an ankle injury, but Kenny expects to otherwise have a full squad to select from.
The last time the Saints beat Shamrock Rovers was in May 2018. Ian Bermingham and Killian Brennan, two ex-Hoops, got the goals. Bermingham and co will hope for something similar on Monday night.
If Friday night’s 1-0 loss at home to table-topping Dundalk, five points ahead prior to kick-off, was labelled as a 'must-not lose', then Monday's Dublin derby at St Patrick's Athletic is quite simply a 'must-win' for Shamrock Rovers in they are to have a realistic part to play in the title race.
Dundalk right-back Sean Gannon notched a close range goal in the 73rd minute to see his employers leave Tallaght Stadium with all three points. The Lilywhites are now eight points clear of the Hoops at the summit.
Stephen Bradley's men were much the better team for large portions of the game, but frustratingly enough, lacked the killer instinct up top to capitalise on their dominance. This has been the story of the Hoops' season so far.
Jack Byrne, who was Rovers' best player on the night, smacked the crossbar in the opening period, while substitute Aaron Greene missed two good chances to equalise late on.
Bradley insisted after Friday's defeat that his team are getting no luck at the moment, but results don't lie, and defeats against their two biggest rivals (and Bohs) will sting for followers in Tallaght.
Rovers have already beaten the hosts twice this season, both 1-0 wins in March and in April, and will no doubt want to keep that run going.
Bradley will have the same squad from Friday available to him as their new signings are unavailable till their home game with Sligo Rovers next Friday.
After confirming last week the signing of both Gary O’Neill and Neil Farrugia from UCD, on Sunday the Hoops announced striker Graham Cummins had signed for Rovers on loan from Cork City (see here), but none is eligible tonight.
Winger Joel Coustrain has gone to Cork for the rest of the season, while defender Sam Bone has joined Waterford on loan Stephen Bradley has recalled 19-year-old defender Sean Callan from Wexford.
Referee: Graham Kelly.
The sides have met 55 times in the Premier Division. Rovers marginally have the upper hand, winning 22 of those to Pat's 20. There has been 13 draws.
The last three meetings between the pair have all ended 1-0 to the Hoops.
There are a lot of current St Patrick's Athletic players that played for Shamrock Rovers. Ian Bermingham, Barry Murphy, Simon Madden, David Webster, Dean Clarke, James Doona, Gary Shaw, Brandon Miele and Mikey Drennan have all played for the Hoops.
Rovers' Greg Bolger won the league with St Pat's in 2013.
Pat's have a home record of six wins, three draws and three defeats from 12 games. Rovers have an away record of seven wins and four losses from 11 games.
St Patrick’s Athletic 3/1; Draw 9/4; Shamrock Rovers 10/11.
St Patrick’s Athletic 1 - 1 Shamrock Rovers.
St Patrick’s Athletic
Doubtful: Dave Webster (ankle).
Doubtful: Aaron McEneff