OG: 90'
- Nahum Melvin-Lambert 90' + 2'

League Preview: St. Patrick’s Athletic -v- Shamrock Rovers

Thu, Sep 23 2021

Ronan Finn and Billy King tussle in Tallaght last November Credit: Peter Fitzpatrick


Second placed St. Pat’s begin their final series of League of Ireland matches of the season by welcoming league leaders Shamrock Rovers to Richmond Park on Friday in front of the live RTÉ cameras (kick-off 7.45pm). 

If the home side are to finish the season by overhauling the Hoops and claiming the title for themselves for the first time in eight years, then the view from ousdie the club is that really need to earn all three points in this Dublin derby but that is not quite how Stephen O'Donnell sees it.

This is their last chance to take points off the Hoops this season and a win would leave them three points off top spot having played a game more than Rovers.

"We have never really spoken about it (the title race) in those terms,” said St. Pat’s Head Coach Stephen O’Donnell talking about the importance of this game in their title challenge at his pre-match press conference.

“We are going into the last quarter now and we have nine games left between the end of the season between the league and a cup semi-final to look forward to and that's basically what we are looking at, it is the next game on our calendar. 

“We are not going in saying it's a must win game. There has been a lot of unpredictable results this season in the league, so it is the ninth last game and it happens to be Shamrock Rovers at home. Obviously, it is a tough game, but a really good game for our lads to look forward to."

The Athletic havve the best home record in the league this season with just two defeats with their recent record reading six wins in a row in the league – eight in all competitions if you add in their two FAI Cup wins in Richmond Park.

They will have a full house of home fans to cheer them on as the game is sold out with a 2,500 capacity (and no official away ticket allocation). 

Speaking ahead of the game Chris Forrester said “it will be intimidating for Rovers, especially for the wing-backs with the fans being right on top of the pitch and behind both goals, they can get on the goalkeepers a bit.

"Any player in the league will tell you Inchicore is a great atmosphere when the fans are packed out and the four corners will be full on Friday. 

“We want to be challenging for the league which we are now and when you see the fixtures with Rovers, you always know it's going to be a cracker of a game whether it's in Tallaght or Inchicore."

St. Pat’s won last weekend 3-0 in the cup against Wexford. Sam Bone was sent off early in the game but will serve his suspension in the cup semi-final and so will be available to play against his former club.

Lee Desmond’s recovery from concussion is progressing and he is pushing to be available for selection along with Robbie Benson who is also close to a return.


Rovers could take a big step in retaining their title if they can win in Richmond Park on Friday night. Victory would move Rovers nine points clear of second placed St. Patrick’s Athletic with just nine games remaining. 

The Hoops have a game in hand over the Saints too – that is a home fixture against Bohemians due to take place in early October.

Despite losing four competitive games in a row last month, in the league Rovers' recent record is excellent – winning seven of their last eight Premier Division games and they come into the match in Dublin 8 with back-to-back clean sheets in the wins over Waterford (2-0) and most recently against Sligo Rovers last Saturday (1-0).

"It was a good win,” said Stephen Bradley reflecting on last weekend’s victory at the Showgrounds. “I thought we played well, and I felt we deserved it. It was a tough game; it always is when you go to Sligo.

"It was a good performance because it had a bit of everything from us. We played well in spells, created chances and then we had to defend really well at the end, so it had a bit of everything, which was pleasing. And of course, it's always nice to come away with a clean sheet."

“I think the clean sheet comes as a team. It's not just a back three, it comes from a team. I've said it before, when we concede goals, nine times out of ten it's a team issue. And when we keep clean sheets, it's the same.

"So, I felt all over the pitch we defended well, which is good carrying on from Waterford.

“We'll go there with confidence and we're very much looking forward to it. We know it'll be a difficult game because they're a good side. They're second in the league for a reason."

Referee: Rob Hennessy


The Saints are seeking their first win over Rovers this season. The teams drew 1-1 on the opening night of the league campaign 1-1 in Tallaght and the most recent result was a 3-1 home win for Rovers. In between Danny Mandriou scored the late winner in a 2-1 victory for the Hoops in Inchicore at the end of July.

Rory Gaffney, Graham Burke and Danny Mandroiu all have nine league goals for the Hoops. Top scorers for the Saints in the league are Chris Forrester and Matty Smith who both have eight goals.


St. Patrick’s Athletic

Injured: John Mountney.

Doubtful: Lee Desmond, Robbie Benson.

Suspended: None.

Shamrock Rovers  

Injured: None. 

Doubtful: Ronan Finn, Sean Hoare, Sean Kavanagh, Aaron Greene.

Suspended: None.

St. Pats
LSept. 24, 2021
St. Pats 0 - 1 Shamrock R
WOct. 1, 2021
Drogheda 0 - 1 St. Pats
LOct. 15, 2021
Derry 1 - 0 St. Pats
WOct. 22, 2021
St. Pats 3 - 1 Dundalk
WOct. 25, 2021
St. Pats 1 - 0 Dundalk
Vitezslav Jaros 1
Sam Bone 4
© Ian Bermingham 3
Paddy Barrett 29
James Abankwah
59Subbed On: 59'
Chris Forrester 8
58Subbed Off: Billy King 58'
Darragh Burns 17
Jamie Lennon 6
Alfie Lewis
Rónán Coughlan 10
83Subbed Off: Nahum Melvin-Lambert 83'
Matty Smith 12

Billy King 15
58Subbed On: Chris Forrester 58'
Jak Hickman
Shane Griffin 20
59Subbed Off: James Abankwah 59'
Kian Corbally 31
Jason McClelland 16
Ben McCormack 18
Nahum Melvin-Lambert 9
83Subbed On: Rónán Coughlan 83'
OG: 90'
Barry Murphy 21
Kyrian Nwoko
Shamrock R
WOct. 1, 2021
Shamrock R 2 - 1 Derry
LOct. 8, 2021
Dundalk 1 - 0 Shamrock R
WOct. 15, 2021
Shamrock R 2 - 0 Sligo
DOct. 18, 2021
Shamrock R 1 - 1 Bohs
WOct. 23, 2021
Longford 0 - 1 Shamrock R
1 Alan Mannus
4 Roberto Lopes
5 Lee Grace
2 Sean Gannon
8 Ronan Finn
Barry Cotter
Defender 76'
76Subbed Off: Neil Farrugia 76'
7 Dylan Watts
17 Richie Towell
16 Gary O'Neill
14 Daniel Mandroiu
Midfielder 79'
79Subbed Off: Chris McCann 79'
20 Rory Gaffney
Forward 65'
65Subbed Off: Aaron Greene 65'

21 Adam Wells
25 Leon Pohls
Conan Noonan
24 Max Murphy
Dean McMenamy
26 Chris McCann
Midfield 79'
79Subbed On: Daniel Mandroiu 79'
9 Aaron Greene
Forward 65'
65Subbed On: Rory Gaffney 65'
23 Neil Farrugia
Midfield 76'
76Subbed On: Barry Cotter 76'
Aidomo Emakhu


Competition: 2021 League of Ireland Premier Division

Date: 7:45 p.m. Sept. 24, 2021

Venue: Richmond Park

Referee: Unknown

Attendance: Unknown