League Preview: Shamrock Rovers -v- Dundalk

Shamrock Rovers Head Coach Stephen Bradley

Shamrock Rovers Head Coach Stephen Bradley Credit: Martin Doherty (ETPhotos)


League of Ireland champions Shamrock Rovers welcome Dundalk to Tallaght stadium in their 2024 league of Ireland opener as they eye up a fifth consecutive Premier Division title.

Off the back of a 3-1 victory over Inchicore’s St Patrick’s Athletic in the Presidents Cup last Friday night, the stage is set in Tallaght Stadium ahead of Shamrock Rovers’ 2024 league opener against Dundalk.

The newly constructed North Stand, which holds a further 2,000 seats in addition to Tallaght Stadium’s already 8,000 capacity, was tried and tested for the President’s Cup when 500 Hoops fans sat in the stand making up for the total 8,053 attendees.

Triumphant on three out of their four league encounters with Dundalk last season, the Dublin 24 outfit will be confident against the Lilywhites on Friday, especially now that former Dundalk key striker Patrick Hoban jumped ship to rival club, Derry City in the January transfer window.

With the absence of Pico Lopes following international duty with Cape Verde in the AFCON, Graham Burke, Jack Byrne, Richie Towell and Aaron McEneff miss out on this week’s fixture to injury, leaving Stephen Bradley with gaps to fill in the squad.

New additions Daragh Burns, Josh Honohan and Trevor Clarke who recently signed a full time contract the club, made their debuts in green and white against St Pat’s last Friday, with Honohan getting on the score sheet.

Speaking with Shamrock Rovers media ahead of Friday night, Stephen Bradley spoke briefly about squad selection saying: “When I look at the group, I genuinely feel we could start with any eleven and we’d be happy that they’d know their roles and responsibilities and they’d be ready to play, otherwise they wouldn’t be part of the group.”


Having finished fifth in the league last season, Lilywhites manager Stephen O’Donnell will be eager to start the season off right in Tallaght on Friday night.

Following the previously stated departure of striker Patrick Hoban to Derry City, who netted 14 goals for the club last season, there are big boots to fill as O’Donnell looks to Ciaran McGucken on loan from Rotherham United and Jamie Gullan who signs from Raith Rovers to deliver the goods upfront this season.

O'Donnell wrapped up transfer activities this week, securing goalkeeper George Shelvey (Nottingham Forest) and Zak Johnson (Sunderland), bringing the new faces at Oriel Park to 11. In contrast, Rovers, eyeing a fifth consecutive title, made incremental additions like Aaron McEneff and Darragh Burns.

Speaking ahead of Friday night with Dundalk FC media, O’Donnell said: “We’re happy with our recruitment and we’re excited about the group that we have. 

“There is a freshness about us that I don’t think was there over the last two seasons. That brings a bit of the unknown but all we can do is be attentive to everything that we do in our detail and try and gel as quickly as we can.

“The way to do that is by training well and creating a dynamic and togetherness in the squad.

“I was at the President’s Cup final last week and Shamrock Rovers looked strong and deserved to win.

“They have a plethora of options so we’re well aware of the task at hand but we’re looking forward to it. It’s live on national TV, there’ll be a great crowd, a new stand opening, and a great arena for players to show what they’re about.”

Referee: Rob Hennessy


Shamrock Rovers: 1/6; Draw 5/1; Dundalk 11/1


Shamrock Rovers 2-0 Dundalk

Shamrock Rovers

Injured: Jack Byrne; Graham Burke; Aaron McEneff; Johnny Kenny; Richie Towell

Doubtful: Pico Lopes (International Duty)

Suspended: None.


Injured: None.

Doubtful: None.

Suspended: None.