League Preview: Shamrock Rovers -v- Bohemians

Shamrock Rovers celebrate a goal in their 3-0 win over Bohs last September

Shamrock Rovers celebrate a goal in their 3-0 win over Bohs last September Credit: Eddie Lennon (ETPhotos)


A game most refer to as 'The Dublin Derby' is definitely the biggest game in Irish club football as on Friday night over 10,000 fans are expected to cram into Tallaght Stadium for what will be the biggest crowd for a League of Ireland game this century.

Hoops Head Coach Stephen Bradley believes his team won’t be fazed by the sold out attendance and that the record breaking crowd should be celebrated by the club. 

“The good thing is our players have built up a really good understanding of how to play big games in front of big crowds,” said Bradley speaking to shamrockrovers.ie.

“That can only help you as a player, sharpen your focus and attention which is a good thing. It can give you that nervous energy which is also a good thing.

"It’s a proud moment for everyone involved with this club, we’ll have Tallaght Stadium sold out for this game, when you think back to all the fights and struggles throughout the years and now you look to this game, so many people connected to this club need to take credit for that.

"They should watch tomorrow night and be extremely proud of what they helped build and achieve.”

Prior to last week’s international break, the Hoops got back-to-back clean sheets for Rovers’ new number one Leon Pohls  – with the scoreless draw in Sligo followed by a 1-0 away to Galway United in what was the first victory of the league campaign for the Hoops.

Speaking about Pohls, Bradley said: “What we see with Leon is growth. His attitude has been brilliant, we know the ability he has, but it takes more than that to play for this team and this club. You can see Leon is growing with every game, 

“We genuinely believe he has a high ceiling, we’ve seen him work closely the last three years with Jose (Ferrer Rovers' goalkeeping coach) and Alan Mannus when he was here, so we’ve seen both mental and physical growth with Leon.

"He’ll make mistakes, we’re ok with that and accept that, but we feel he’ll earn us more points than he won’t. He’s started ok but there’s so much more to come from him.”

Reflecting on the challenge of taking on a Bohs side under new management, Bradley said: “They did well in their last match by winning against Derry (2-1 in Dalymount). What hasn’t changed is they have some very good players in the attacking part of the pitch. Whether it’s Keith Long, Declan Devine or Alan Reynolds, that hasn’t changed. 

“We’ll be set up and ready to respect what Bohs bring, but our aim as always will be to impose ourselves on the game as soon as possible. That won’t change tomorrow regardless of who their manager is.”


Visitors Bohs will be buoyed by coming to Tallaght with a new manager in charge in the dugout. Gypsies fans will be hoping for a new boss bounce with Alan Reynolds in charge, particularly as they haven’t won in Tallaght for five seasons.

“When you talk about football, Dublin derbies are what you call a ‘real game’,” said Reynolds speaking to Bohemianfc.com. “In this league, they are the games you want to be involved in, so I am really looking forward to it.

"There will be a massive crowd but we will have a big crowd behind us too. We will need them to stick with us as I have no doubt they will.

“There is huge potential here. When Bohs teams give the fans something to cheer about, this club’s supporters are electric, and make it a real hostile atmosphere for opponents both home and away.”

The Gyspies sit sixth in the early season table a point clear of their cross city rivals and won’t want a defeat that would enable Rovers to jump above them in the table.

Looking at his squad Reynolds noted that “there is a good mixture of youth and experience in the squad, and I am really looking forward to getting the very best out of everyone.

"There are obviously injuries to a couple of key players at the moment in Keith Buckley and Rob Cornwall but there is a lot to be excited about in this squad, and I feel that I can help make them better.

“To work with some of the talented young players at the club – the likes of James McManus and James Clarke – is a really exciting prospect for any manager. They are exciting players – they excite fans and they excite managers – so it is up to me to get in there and improve them further.”

Referee: Rob Harvey


Rovers are looking for their fifth win in a row over the Gypsies in Tallaght. 

The Hoops are on a run of eight unbeaten games against Bohs in Dublin 22 with seven wins since April 2019 in the venue against Bohs. That last win came thanks to a goal from Dinny Corcoran in a match where the Hoops had two players sent off in the first half (Trevor Clarke and Lee Grace).

This is the first meeting of the sides this season. In the last campaign, Rovers won three and drew one – throwing away a two goal lead to leave Dalymount with only a point after a spirited Bohs comeback when they played last June.


1-0 home win

Shamrock Rovers

Injured: Neil Farrugia, Seán Kavanagh, Aaron McEneff

Doubtful: Jack Byrne, Markus Poom

Suspended: None


Injured: Keith Buckley, Rob Cornwall

Doubtful: None

Suspended: None