All-Island Cup preview: Shamrock Rovers -v- DLR Waves

Stephanie Zambra on the ball for Shamrock Rovers in their 1-1 league draw against DLR Waves in March 2024

Stephanie Zambra on the ball for Shamrock Rovers in their 1-1 league draw against DLR Waves in March 2024 Credit: Matthew Lysaght (ETPhotos)


Collie O’Neill’s Hoops are headhunting for the win this Saturday.

While unbeaten across all competitions, the Drogheda native’s side have yet to secure a win from their five fixtures to date - an unsettling fact that O’Neill wants to wash away this weekend when the Dublin 24 outfit welcome DLR Waves to Tallaght Stadium.

The Hoops have four draws in the league – including a 1-1 result against Waves in the opening game of the season – and one draw in the All-Island Cup away to Treaty United.

“It’s really important,” the Rovers boss said to about getting their first competitive victory of 2024.

“It’s got to the stage now where we need to just get over that line and get that first win of the season. The performances have been good but you begin to sound like a broken record when you’re saying performances have been good, but we've drawn again. It’s vitally important that we get the win on Saturday.”

Rovers face another tough test when they welcome the Dublin 4 Academics a week after their scoreless draw away to Shelbourne at Tolka Park - a gutsy and spirited display that the Hoops Head Coach believes warranted a win.

“I thought our performance deserved an awful lot more than just one point,” O’Neill said. “It was a good performance, we were happy with how we went about our business, how we didn’t let Shels settle at all.

“It’s nice to be able to go away from home, to Tolka, and be the better side and be the one that’s feeling hard done by that you didn’t come away with the win.”

One standout positive that O’Neill did take from his side's at times dominant performance against the Drumcondra debonairs was the monster mentality shown when battling for first and second balls in challenging conditions.

“It was a game that we probably would have lost last year,” he acceded. “It was the difficult windy conditions, the pitch wasn’t great so our normal style of play. We couldn’t really implement it to our advantage, so there were an awful lot of second balls and fights.

"It was more the mentality side of things and it was a bit that we were lacking a little bit last year so it’s something that’s going to stand to us as the season goes on.”

The women from Tallaght were held to a 1-1 draw when they faced the Belfield Belles at the UCD Bowl in the season curtain-raiser - a challenging and physical contest where Laura Heffernan's side held their own.

On which of Heffernan's players pose the greatest threat to that elusive first win for Rovers, O’Neill stated: “All of them. DLR is one of those sides that when you underestimate them, you find yourself 1-0 down and struggling to get back into the game. 

“They’re very tenacious, they go about their business in a good manner, they don’t give you a second to settle on the ball. So, it’s really going to come down to us on our quickness of play and our tempo.

“Can we influence our style of play on them and make sure that a lot of their counter-attacks are nullified before they even start, and then just to make sure that Michelle Doonan isn’t getting in and around our box on those counter-attacks.”


The Sky Blues will enter this fixture a little sea salty, a penalty awarded to the Hoops on March 9th with ten minutes to play a 50/50 call that rocked the boat at the Bowl.

DLR have endured their fair share of disappointments since Áine O’Gorman’s clinical penalty bid adieu to that ship which has most definitely sailed in the opening fixtures of their 2024 campaign - two losses and one draw sinking Heffernan's side to second from bottom in the Women’s Premier Division table.

Yet despite a disappointing run of form the women in azure and white should not be taken lightly.

The visitors showed promise in their 1-1 draw against Cork City last weekend and pose a significant threat in attack - Robyn Bolger and Michelle Doonans link up play of particular significance.

RefereeDavid Berry


The Sky Blues have yet to beat Rovers, the Dublin 24 side scooping six points from their two league clashes in 2023.

A seven goal thriller at the UCD Bowl, where the Hoops clawed their way back from an early deficit to win 4-3 sets the tone for this fixture.

Don't blink or you’ll miss it.


Shamrock Rovers 2 – 1 DLR Waves 

Shamrock Rovers

Injured: Savannah McCarthy

Doubtful: Unknown

Suspended: None

DLR Waves

Injured: Unknown 

Doubtful: Unknown

Suspended: Unknown