League Preview: Shamrock Rovers -v- Sligo Rovers

Thu, Mar 14 2019

Ronan Finn in action in Shamrock Rovers 2-0 win over Sligo Rovers last July Credit: Peter Fitzpatrick (ETPhotos)


The Hoops carry a two point lead with them at the top of the table into Friday's game in Tallaght Stadium against Sligo Rovers (kick off 8pm). 

Rovers have yet to concede a goal at home this season - beating Derry City (2-0) and Finn Harps (3-0), along with a scoreless draw against last season's double winners Dundalk. 

Adding in last week’s clean sheet in the 1-0 win in Inchicore and the Hoops have kept four clean sheets from their six league games so far this season – making it 15 clean sheets from their last 21 league games. In that time they have only conceded just seven goals. 

The Hoops Head Coach Stephen Bradley is happy with his team’s defensive performances in the campaign to date that built on their strong finish to last season.

“If you look at it from the summer last year, how many clean sheets we kept (11 from the last 15 league games) and how confident we were in how we were playing, we felt really confident in what we had at the back and that we wouldn't concede,” said Bradley.

“That gave us the confidence to go and win games. So it's just continued from last year. It was a big win (against Pat’s) on the back of Finn Harps. We felt we needed to back it up in Inchicore and we did that and I thought we fully deserved it. 

“We controlled the game and created a lot of chances which was pleasing. The commitment shown by the players didn't surprise me, I think that's been the case since the start of the season. Winning in the last minute in Waterford and a tough game against Derry. That's the minimum requirement here, that you need to work hard and work for your teammates.

“The key for us at the start of the year was to get as many points on the board as quickly as possible and we've done that. It's obviously brought us to the top of the table but it's very, very early and we know that. We just need to concentrate on keep putting points on the board and tomorrow night gives us a chance to do that.

Friday’s match will take place ten years and two days on from the first fixture in Tallaght on a night when the Hoops beat Sligo 2-1, a game that Bradley played in.

“I remember the opening night of Tallaght Stadium and that week the build up was unbelievable. We'd waited so long to go into Tallaght and you could sense the buzz. 

“When we came out the crowd was unbelievable. I remember that night looking around and there wasn't a seat to be had in the stadium and the atmosphere was electric. 

“You look at Tallaght as a place that we can call home now, really settle in and make it our own. And now with the addition of the third stand it's just helped it even more. 

“I think teams don't like coming to play in Tallaght when we have big crowds, it can very hostile for the opposing team. That's something we like and something we want to build on. Overall it's been a success.”


The Bit O' Red carry some form into Friday's trip to Tallaght having banked six points from the last six on offer - albeit those wins coming against the two bottom clubs Finn Harps and UCD.

The victory over the Students was earned with Sligo's first clean sheet of the season.

Sligo Rovers manager Liam Buckley should have a few more options to call from this week with a number of players returning to training but he will have to assess their fitness for the game in Dublin. 

Regan Donelon, Kyle Callan-McFadden and Dante Leverock returned to training during the week but Ed McGinty will miss the match due to a finger problem.  

“It is good to get some of the injured lads back in training at least," said Buckley. 

"We’ll have to make a call on whether they are ready to start. It’s not straight-forward in one or two cases.

“We’d like to improve on these two wins and get our performances better, which is happening in moments and has helped us get those victories. 

“It’ll take time to get it to where we’d like over the course of a game. That’s what we’re working towards."

The last time the sides met Sligo took a deserved 2-0 home win.

“The opposition are the team top of the table with aspirations to stay there all year so it’s a challenge. 

“I’ve had some wins in Tallaght previously and it’s a great place to pick up a result if you can do so. 

“It’s certainly what we’re targeting and something we are looking forward to trying to do. We’ll give it a good go.”

Romeo Parkes (@romeoparkes_) had a lot of views for his celebration against Finn Harps but it didn’t make the TV cut for his next goal against UCD, so we dug it out from our own video for the real thing. The Showgrounds crowd certainly enjoyed it. #bitored pic.twitter.com/kymBOTQ0Rj — Sligo Rovers (@sligorovers) March 13, 2019

Referee: Robert Rogers


This season Shamrock Rovers have conceded just two goals with none of them from open play - Kevin Lynch got a free kick against the Hoops on the opening night of the season when Rovers won 2-1 in Waterford while Countdown’s Dinny Corcoran scored last month from the penalty spot in Bohemians’ 1-0 win over the Hoops at Dalymount Park.

In the last 21 league games only Sligo Rovers have managed to score more than once against Rovers. The BitO’Red beat the Hoops 2-0 in the Showgrounds on the final day of last season. You have to go back to the first day of June 2018 for the last game that Rovers conceded more than two goals. That was a 5-2 defeat to Dundalk. That was Tomer Chencinski’s last game in goal for Rovers. After that defeat Gavin Bazunu played the next six matches (keeping four clean sheets in his four league games) before Alan Mannus came into goal where he has played the last 17 consecutive league matches for the Hoops.

Sligo Rovers haven’t won at Tallaght Stadium since the final game of the 2013 season.


Shamrock Rovers 2/9; Draw 4/1; Sligo Rovers 11/1.


2-0 home win for the Hoops

Shamrock Rovers

Injured: None

Doubtful: Ethan Boyle

Suspended: None

Sligo Rovers

Injured: None

Doubtful: None

Suspended: None