League Preview: Longford Town -v- Shamrock Rovers

Sat, Oct 23 2021
Rory Gaffney on his 32nd birthday will be looking to score on Saturday night

Rory Gaffney on his 32nd birthday will be looking to score on Saturday night Credit: Peter Fitzpatrick (ETPhotos)

LONGFORD TOWN

There is probably just pride at stake for already relegated Longford Town tonight when they welcome Shamrock Rovers to Bishopsgate (kick off 7.30pm).

However, they may have a bit of revenge on their minds too with the visit of a Hoops side who have broken Town hearts on three occasions this season with devastating late goals.

Rovers have led for just seven minutes in 290 minutes (including injury time) of league action between the teams this season. Sean Gannon got a 93rd minute winner in Rovers 2-1 win in Tallaght in April after Graham Burke had cancelled out Dylan Grimes’ seventh minute goal. 

Rory Gaffney grabbed the winner in Longford in the fifth minute of injury time in May’s match while it was a similar story in Tallaght in August when Liam Scales got the winning goal with 95 minutes on the stadium clock.

Longford played well in all three games but allowed the Hoops to claim those victories.  De Town have just two league wins this season – the same amount when they finished bottom of the Premier Division in 2016 – so they have six matches to better that tally starting with the tonight’s game against the visitors from Tallaght. 

Writing in this evening’s match programme (available here), Town boss Daire Doyle noted that “our group is full of players who’ll continue to give everything for our club as they have done in every match and tonight is no different.

“We’ll look to get a positive result against an excellent Shamrock Rovers side who we have agonizingly lost out to on three occasions this year due to last-minute goals.”

Doyle will be unable to call upon Darragh Nugent and Dean Williams as, due to the loan arrangement with their parent club Shamrock Rovers, they are ineligible for this evening’s game which is the first to be played in Bishopsgate without any COVID-19 restrictions.

The home side made available close to 400 tickets for away supporters which were snapped up online when they went available with tickets being sold to home fans only at the gate. 

SHAMROCK ROVERS  

The Hoops are on the brink of winning their 19th League of Ireland title.

A victory in Longford Town this evening would see Rovers become champions again inside the next seven days if they beat Finn Harps in Tallaght next Friday or they can wrap it up as early as Monday if Dundalk beat St. Patrick’s Athletic in Inchicore.

The hard won point earned last Monday while playing with ten men for all of the second half against Bohemians has brought them to the brink of back-to-back league titles.

“I think the players deserve tremendous credit for how they handled the game when we went down to ten men,” said Hoops Head Coach Stephen Bradley speaking to his club’s media team. 

“I thought we were poor up until the sending off but I felt after that, the players were excellent and showed really high fitness levels, character and bravery to play the way they did for so long with ten men.

“I thought in the first 10 minutes we started really well, with a really good tempo and then we got sloppy in aspects of our play, which allowed them to come into the game. Then when the sending off happened it woke us up again. "

I thought it was a typical derby game. Up until that point there wasn't brilliant quality by either team but it was a competitive, feisty game, which they always are.

“We probably should have won it and on another day you win the game with the chances we had at the end. But if you had offered us a point when you're down to ten men and 1-0 down so early in the game, you would have taken that. So you've got to be happy to come away with a point, considering how it played out.”

Roberto Lopes’ red card means that he misses out on this match and Bradley confirmed that Sean Kavanagh will miss out due to injury but that Gary O’Neill has passed the concussion protocols and that Lee Grace is also available for this evening’s game against Longford.

“We've scored late a number of times against them so they obviously haven't been easy games and Saturday will be no different. We'll be fully focused on winning three points and taking us closer to that target of winning the league.”

Referee: Adriano Reale

MATCH STATS

Longford’s most recent win over Rovers was an EA Sports Cup second round clash in Tallaght in April 2018. Daniel O’Reilly got the only goal of the game that day. 

Rory Gaffney, who is celebrating his 32nd birthday today, is Rovers’ top goalscorer with 12 in all competitions (nine in the league, two in Europe and one FAI Cup goal). Danny Mandriou is the Hoops’ leading league goalscorer with ten.

PREDICTION
2-0 away win

Longford Town

Injured: Dean Byrne

Ineligible: Darragh Nugent, Dean William (as both on loan from Shamrock Rovers)

Doubtful: None

Suspended: None

Shamrock Rovers 

Injured: Sean Kavanagh

Doubtful:  None

Suspended: Roberto Lopes

Did you enjoy this article? If so, please consider becoming a patron of extratime.com for just €4 a month to help us cover running costs.