League Preview: Shelbourne -v- Waterford United
- Peter Clancy
- Thu, Sep 24 2015
Tolka Park hosts the visit of Waterford United this Friday evening at 7.45pm as Kevin Doherty will aim to take all three points with his Shelbourne side to stay in the hunt for a play-off spot and promotion to the Premier Division.
There are just two precious First Division play-off spots up for grabs and with three games remaining Finn Harps, UCD and Kevin Doherty’s Shelbourne can all still fill the duo of important berths, behind champions elect Wexford Youths, which could prove to be a vital step back to the Premier Division.
Whilst Finn Harps need just one point to secure a play-off place the same can not be said for Shels. The Reds are required to overhaul a 4 point difference to UCD who have picked up just one point in four outings and still have a couple of tricky games on paper including the long trip to take on Finn Harps in Donegal this Friday night and a journey to the RSC to face The Blues from Waterford on the last day of the season.
UCD picked up just two points from these two matches earlier on in the season which gives fans of the Reds much hope that following a hard and challenging season, if their side can play its part, Lady Luck might swing their way as well as the results to help them over the line and into a play-off position.
Kevin Doherty will want his side to respond in style with a commanding performance following a very disappointing 2-1 defeat away to Athlone last time out which would have all but ended their hopes of going up had out of form UCD not been beaten by Wexford Youths on the same night.
Shels will take confidence from having the upper hand against the Blues this season having beaten them 1-0 the last time the sides met in Drumcondra back in May along with a hard earned 2-2 draw at the RSC through two very late Shels goals in April and a 2-1 win on the south coast in a fiery match between the sides in July which saw three players red carded.
Shels go into this match without top scorer Philly Hughes who is out of contention for a place in the starting eleven through injury and he is joined by Dave Ryan, Craig Walsh and Alan Kehoe who have all been deemed unfit for selection.
This is must win game for Shels who are unbeaten in 8 league matches at Tolka Park.
Roddy Collins must be delighted with the way his young side have responded to the mauling they received by UCD the last time they travelled to Dublin. On that night the Students hammered them 5-1. Since then Waterford United have been a tougher nut to crack.
Of the 12 points up for grabs after that heavy defeat Collins has guided his team to 7 valuable and deserving points in the battle to avoid bottom spot in the league table. Four of those coming away from home against Athlone Town and Finn Harps.
Two clean sheets in a row must also breed extra confidence into to a side who play a stylish and patient brand of football which they demonstrated last week with a 1-0 win against Cabinteely at the RSC. Cory Galvin slotted home the winner just five minutes from the end of the game.
There is no doubting the belief Roddy Collins has in his side. He spoke with great confidence following their victory over Cabinteely.
“Once we’ve got our best eleven on the pitch, even our best ten with one filling in from off the bench, I believe we are match for any team”
Speaking of the late season turnaround in form Collins focused on his attention on his players.
“For the lads I’m delighted because this is building a little bit of momentum and the dressing room is brilliant. There is a great vibe around the place and a great atmosphere around the dressing room and you can see the wanting of the players for the success of this club”
Collins will have to enter this game without Daniel Pender who suffered a broken nose in Ballybofey during the 0-0 draw with Finn Harps earlier this month. Thomas Croke is a long term fitness concern with Darren Murphy joining them with a foot injury.
How United’s backline fare in Dublin will have a huge impact on the outcome of this game. They will leave the tunnel for the pitch looking to make it three clean sheets in a row and if they click on the night, Shels could be in for a very frustrating evening.
Referee: Robert Hennessey
Shelbourne are 8 games unbeaten against the Blues who would have to go back to October 2010 for their last victory over the Dublin side at Tolka Park.
Waterford United are looking to record three consecutive clean sheets for the first time since April 2014 when they managed four in a row against Longford Town, Cobh Wanderers, Shamrock Rovers II and Finn Harps.
Waterford United and Shelbourne have won 18 League of Ireland titles and 9 FAI Cups between them.
Shelbourne 8/15; Draw 13/5; Waterford United 5/1.
Shelbourne 2-1 Waterford United.
Injured: Dave Ryan, Craig Walsh, Philly Hughes, Alan Kehoe.
Injured: Thomas Croake, Daniel Pender, Darren Murphy.