League Preview: Shamrock Rovers -v- Sligo Rovers

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

Shamrock Rovers host Sligo Rovers on Friday night. Credit: Eddie Lennon (ETPhotos)


The second clash of the season of the two Rovers takes place in Tallaght Stadium on Friday night (kick-off 8pm) when Shamrock Rovers host Sligo Rovers with both sides currently locked together on 12 points after eight rounds of games.

Both teams have an identical record heading into Friday night’s game, with three wins, three draws and two losses each.

The more recent form of both teams has also been very similar, with both teams having lost their most recent game after a four-game unbeaten run prior to that.

The Hoops’ good run was halted by St Patrick’s Athletic last weekend when they were on the wrong end of a 2-1 result in a pulsating clash at Richmond Park.

That result left them nine points behind runaway leaders Shelbourne, albeit that Rovers still have a game in hand.

Their injuries list probably impacted that performance against St Pat’s but nevertheless they can have no complaints about the result and will now look for a response against their next opponents against whom they drew 0-0 in the first clash at the Showgrounds in early March.

Manager Stephen Bradley spoke to the Shamrock Rovers media team this week and said: “Sligo are a dangerous team, we have seen that up there, the pitch did play a big part in the quality of the game up there the last time (0-0 draw at the Showgrounds) but Tallaght is usually a brilliant pitch so no excuses, hopefully we will go out and perform.’’

With regard to his injury list Bradley added, “Lee Grace is doing well and he should be back next week. In terms of Aaron McEneff and Jack Byrne, both are ramping up well and both will be important players for us in what hopefully will be another long season.”

If Graham Burke plays against Sligo Rovers, it will be his 200th game for the Hoops, and Bradley said of his striker that “he has grown into a real leader for the team, he is so brave, he takes the ball into areas where others wouldn’t.

“He has created so many opportunities already this season for us, he has had so many shots already it’s only a matter of time before they start going in for him.

“Its brilliant that he is going to play his 200th game for the club, he was here when we started all of this off, overall, we could not be happier for Graham and how he has grown into being a real leader for the club.’’


Sligo Rovers head to West Dublin on Friday afternoon after a two week break without a match following the cancellation due to weather of last weekend’s home game with local rivals Galway United.

It is always debatable whether a two week break is an advantage or a disadvantage, but that question will be answered in this instance by 10pm on Friday night.

In their last match against St Patrick’s Athletic on Easter Monday, the Bit O’Red suffered their worst defeat of the season, going down 3-0 to a resurgent Pat’s in Richmond Park.

Manager John Russell spoke with the Irish Independent this week and said: “I think we’ve started the season well, bar the St Pat’s game I think we’ve played well.

“We’ve picked up good points, probably should have a few more points on the board. We have to concentrate on ourselves, it’s still early. We’ve only played eight games, we have to continue on this journey of winning matches, being more competitive and solid, it’s a long season.

"The national media probably don’t give Sligo Rovers enough recognition, that’s not a new thing. For us to change that perception we have to win matches, we have to stay in the pack, we can’t slip down.”

Russell also confirmed that Ed McGinty and JR Wilson are both available for the Rovers game but that Nando Pijnaker has broken ribs and will be out of action for some time.

Referee: Kevin O’ Sullivan


Sligo Rovers have never succeeded in beating Shamrock Rovers in their last eight games going back two years to April 2022.

The best they could manage was three draws along the way, but as none of those draws were at Tallaght Stadium, the odds are certainly stacked against them on Friday night.

The most recent game was that 0-0 draw at the Showgrounds in March 2024 where the state of the pitch received some adverse comments from both camps.


Shamrock Rovers 1/3; Draw 7/2; Sligo Rovers 6/1.


Shamrock Rovers   2-0 Sligo Rovers

Shamrock Rovers  

Injured: Jack Byrne, Lee Grace, Aaron McEneff.

Doubtful:  Johnny Kenny, Rory Gaffney, Sean Kavanagh

Suspended: None

Sligo Rovers

Injured:  Nando Pijnaker

Doubtful: None

Suspended: None