Prem
Date: 8 p.m. Oct. 11, 2019
Venue: Tallaght Stadium
Att: 1,822

Greg Bolger 79' -
Scored: 79'



League Preview: Shamrock Rovers -v- Finn Harps

Thu, Oct 10 2019

Aaron Greene has scored eight goals in his last dozen games for Rovers Credit: Clare McCahill

SHAMROCK ROVERS 

Tallaght Stadium is set for its third game in four days on Friday when Shamrock Rovers play Finn Harps. After the Ireland women’s team and the men’s under-21 team played in the Dublin 24 venue this week, it is a return for Rovers to Tallaght for the first time in three weeks. 

There is little for Rovers to play for having secured second place in the league after the scoreless draw with St. Pat’s last month.

Although as the Hoops have an FAI Cup final on the horizon, speaking ahead of the game Rovers’ Head Coach Stephen Bradley noted his players need to perform between now and the November cup showdown with Dundalk if they are to make the team in the Aviva.

“We have good competition within the group and we have an FAI Cup final in a few weeks’ time so that’s on everybody’s mind. They want to get in that starting XI for that day so that brings healthy competition in the squad.”

Finn Harps come to Tallaght looking for maximum points to keep them clear of the automatic relegation zone and with one eye on trying to get out of the play-off position they currently are in.

“I’m sure they’ll come with a strong game plan like they always do. Ollie (Horgan) has done a fantastic job again. They’re going to try and take points off us to try and catch Cork so we’ve got to be ready for that and make sure we’re at our best.”

When the Hoops played in Sligo last Saturday, they earned a point after a scoreless draw against the Bit O’Red. Rovers were depleted due to suspensions and illness – they only named six players on the bench - and they will be without a few more players this week. 

“We were missing Lee (Grace) and Greg (Bolger) through suspension and we were missing a few with illness as well,” said Bradley. “It was unfortunate that five or six of the squad have been struggling with sickness the last week and Graham Burke only recovered that morning to travel. So we had to make a few changes.

“We had good chances, we hit the post twice in the first half. In the second half the defender handled it on the line, we had Ronan’s one-on-one and Aaron Greene was unlucky to hit the crossbar. Unfortunately we didn’t take any of them. We need to have a look at the illnesses and see where we are with them.”

Both Jack Byrne and Roberto Lopes are away on international duty, although fortuitously Byrne is serving a one match domestic suspension (along with Gary O’Neill and Joey O’Brien). Lopes earned his first international cap for Cape Verde in a 2-1 friendly win over Togo in Marseille on Thursday afternoon.

FINN HARPS

A tough task await Finn Harps in Tallaght on Friday night when they face a team they have failed to score against this season. Harps have claimed all three points just once away from home in the league all season (1-0 against Waterford in July).

However, if they can get a win over Rovers they will essentially be rewarded with confirmation of a playoff spot at the very least. 

Victory would move them at least six points clear of UCD who sit in the automatic relegation place below them.

The Donegal men have a better goal difference of 16 over the Students with two games remaining after this weekend’s fixtures. UCD are away to Cork City with the Leesiders six points clear of Harps in the table.

"Rovers are the only team in the premier division that we have not scored against this season which shows the task ahead of us,” said Ollie Horgan ahead of taking on a team who have conceded just seven goals in their 16 home games in the league in Tallaght this year.  

“With Rovers players playing for places ahead of the cup final and the depth of their squad this will be a very difficult game.  But we will prepare as well as possible and look to do ourselves justice on the night."

A help for Horgan and his Harps team is that both Daniel O’Reilly and Nathan Boyle are both available for selection having been suspended for last week’s home draw against UCD.

You have to go back to the start of August for Harps’ last win in the league. That was a 1-0 home win over Bohs. Since then, they have lost to Dundalk, Pat’s and Sligo to go with their most recent results – scoreless draws against Cork City and UCD.

Referee: Derek Tomney

MATCH STATS
Harps have lost their last eight games Rovers– seven in the league along with the FAI Cup tie earlier this season. The Hoops beat Harps in the league at home 3-0 this season to go with 3-0 and 1-0 wins in Finn Park. The FAI Cup match in Tallaght ended in a 1-0 win for Rovers. In 2017 Rovers won all three league games against Harps, with 3-2 and 4-1 victories in Tallaght and a 1-0 win in Ballybofey, while the previous year Rovers won 2-0 in August 2016. 

The last time Harps avoided defeat to Rovers was the 1-1 draw in Tallaght in May 2016.

Aaron Greene is Rovers’ top goalscorer in the league with 11 goals – just two behind Pat Hoban who is the league’s top marksman so far this season. Green has scored eight goals in his last dozen games in all competitions. Nathan Boyle is the top scorer for the visitors in the league with five goals.

PREDICTION
2-0 home win for the Hoops

Shamrock Rovers 

Injured: Sean Callan.

International Duty: Roberto Lopes

Doubtful: None

Suspended: Jack Byrne, Joey O’Brien, Gary O’Neill.

Finn Harps

Injured: None

Doubtful: None

Suspended: None


Shamrock Rovers
Alan Mannus
Goalkeeper
Daniel Lafferty
Defender
Sean Kavanagh
Defender
Lee Grace
Defender
© Ronan Finn
Defender
Dylan Watts
Midfielder
Brandon Kavanagh
72'
72Subbed Off: 72'
Midfielder
Neil Farrugia
76'
76Subbed Off: 76'
Midfielder
Greg Bolger
68Booked: 68'
79Scored: 79'
Midfielder
Aaron Greene
86'
86Subbed Off: 86'
Forward
Graham Burke
19Booked: 19'
Forward

Substitutes
Aaron McEneff
72'
72Subbed On: 72'
Midfield
Alex Dunne
Defender
Graham Cummins
86'
86Subbed On: 86'
Forward
Kian Clarke
Goalkeeper
Ethan Boyle
Defender
Danila Bogdanov
Forward
Eric Abulu
76'
76Subbed On: 76'
Defender
Finn Harps
Mark McGinley
Goalkeeper
Colm Deasy
Defender
Harry Ascroft
Defender
55Booked: 55'
Josh Smith
Defender
Sam Todd
Defender
61Booked: 61'
Gareth Harkin ©
Midfielder
90Booked: 90'
Ruairi Harkin
Midfielder 80'
80Subbed Off: 80'
Tony McNamee
Midfielder
81Booked: 81'
Mark Russell
Midfielder
Mark Timlin
Midfielder 69'
69Subbed Off: 69'
Nathan Boyle
Forward 86'
86Subbed Off: 86'

Substitutes
Ciaran Gallagher
Goalkeeper
Stephen Doherty
Midfield
80Subbed On: 80'
80'
Raffaele Cretaro
Forward
Jacob Borg
Defender
Niall Logue
Defender
Daniel O'Reilly
Defender
69Subbed On: 69'
69'
Mikey Place
Midfield
86Subbed On: 86'
86'
90Booked: 90'