Joey O'Brien 70' -
It will be trophy time in Tallaght on Wednesday night as champions Shamrock Rovers finally get their hands on the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division trophy following their game against St. Patrick’s Athletic (kick off 7.45pm).
“We won the league a few weeks back so the players have had to be patient but it’s going to be a great occasion for them to get their hands on the trophy,” said Stephen Bradley speaking to his club’s media team on the eve of the game.
“It’s what we’ve been working for all year so I’m delighted for them to lift that trophy tomorrow night.”
Even with the title wrapped, the Hoops will be seeking another win or at the very least a draw as they seek to go through the season unbeaten. They are trying to become the first League of Ireland team to go through a full campaign without a defeat since the Shamrock Rovers sides from the 1924/25 and 1926/27 18-game league seasons.
The Hoops come into the match on the back of a 2-0 win in Finn Park on Sunday night - their sixth victory in a row. They have scored 20 goals in the last six league games from 14 different goalscorers.
“We’ve created a lot a chances, from set plays and in general and it’s up to us then to go and finish them,” said the Hoops Head Coach about the variety of goalscorers. “It doesn’t matter who it is, whether it’s a centre forward or a centre half. It’s pleasing to see that the goals are coming from everywhere.”
St. Pat’s were the first team this season to take a point off Rovers so the Hoops will be out for some modicum of revenge against a Saints side who are chasing fourth spot but also need a point to be mathematically sure of avoiding the relegation play-off.
“I expect a really tough game,” said Bradley. “I watched them against Dundalk and they were very good. I think they can count themselves unlucky not to win the game, they had enough chances. But if we can hit our levels we fancy ourselves to go and take points in any game.”
Bradley confirmed that Jack Byrne, Neil Farrugia and Danny Lafferty are available for selection on Wednesday.
ST. PATRICK’S ATHLETIC
The Saints are seeking three points in Tallaght on Wednesday to move them within a point of fourth placed Waterford going into the final game of the league campaign on Sunday.
The Hoops have dropped just two points at home all season but St. Pat’s did keep Rovers scoreless in Richmond Park back in August - the only points Rovers have dropped away from home this year.
Last time out the Athletic came from behind to draw 1-1 with Dundalk in Inchicore with Robbie Benson, as he had done in Oriel Park earlier in the season, scoring against his former side.
With this being the Saints’ third game in a week, Stephen O’Donnell is delighted he can select from a full squad. He can include Georgie Kelly who is available again having had to sit out the game against Dundalk due to the arrangement of his loan deal with the Lilywhites.
"We are looking forward to Wednesday's game up in Tallaght,” said O’Donnell speaking to stpatsfc.com. “It is a quick turnaround from Sunday's draw against Dundalk so we have been mainly doing recovery and a bit of analysis on Rovers in the time that we have.
“It's a Dublin derby and one our supporters would love to be at, so the players and staff are looking forward to it and will be going out to get a result for the fans."
The Athletic will round out the season with another Dublin derby when Bohemians cross to Liffey for Sunday’s game in Dublin 8.
Referee: Sean Grant
With Rovers top goalscorer Jack Byrne missing Rovers’ last match in Ballybofey, Alan Mannus in the only Hoops player who has played every league game for Rovers this season. He also played all 36 games in last season’s league campaign.
Last season Rovers won three games against St. Pat’s (winning 1-0 and 2-0 in Inchicore along with a 1-0 home win) along with a scoreless draw in Tallaght. May 2018 is the last time Pat’s beat Rovers and the Hoops haven’t lost a league game in Tallaght to the Saints since March 2016.
Rovers are unbeaten in 22 domestic games. They’ve conceded just one goal in their last eight league games.
Shamrock Rovers 4/11; Draw 16/5; St. Patrick’s Athletic 7/1.
2-0 home win
Injured: Rory Gaffney, Greg Bolger
St. Patrick’s Athletic