Shamrock Rovers finished third in the Premier Division last season, but have struggled this time around and look more likely to finish in mid table. Nine points separate Shamrock from Waterford in third place, with Rovers sitting ten points above the relegation zone with twenty games played. On Friday the league leaders Dundalk provide the opposition, and the visitors arrive in top form and looking to increase their fragile lead over Cork City. Second placed Cork are two points behind Dundalk with a game in hand, so tomorrows visitors can’t afford to drop any points.
When Dundalk played host to Shamrock Rovers last month a very tight and tense game saw the visitors create more chances, retain the majority of the possession, but all three points went to the home side. A goalless first half which saw little goalmouth action would be easily forgettable, but a strike from Benson broke the deadlock after just seven second half minutes. Shortly after the hour mark Shields doubled Dundalk’s advantage completely against the run of play, leaving Shamrock Rovers scratching their heads at just how they were losing this game. The visitors made the final eleven minutes interesting thanks to a goal from Carr which halved the deficit, but Dundalk held on to secure a lucky three points.
With six wins from their last six matches, Dundalk are the clear form favourites ahead of Friday’s game against Shamrock Rovers. The hosts have managed to win two of their last six matches, drawing three times and losing just the once, but know they will be in for a really tough ninety minutes against the league leaders. Dundalk haven’t been beaten by Shamrock in their last five encounters, picking up three wins and two draws, which doesn’t bode well for Friday’s hosts. Dundalk’s defence, like their attack, has been in top form over the last few weeks, with the table toppers keeping three clean sheets in their last three matches. We can’t see this game ending in anything but a Dundalk win, though Shamrock proved in their last meeting with the league leaders that they can give as good as they get.
Former Aston Villa trainee Burke top scores for Shamrock Rovers this season with ten Premier Division goals, but has failed to score in his last three appearances. Dundalk striker Hoban has scored seven goals in his last seven appearances and top scores in the league this season with fourteen goals. Duffy will also provide a major goal scoring threat for the visitors having netted eight time in the Premier Division this season.
We’re confident that the in form visitors will pick up another three points tomorrow against mid table Shamrock Rovers. The hosts have goals in them so we’re not expecting Dundalk to keep another clean sheet and have backed a final score of 3-1 to the league leaders.
Shamrock Rovers Predicted Lineup: Chencinski, Kavanagh, Lopes, Byrne, Grace, Finn, McAllister, Bolger, Boyle, Burke, Carr.
Dundalk Predicted Lineup: Rogers, Gartland, Jarvis, Hoare, Cleary, Shields, Benson, Connolly, McGrath, Hoban, Duffy.
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These two teams have met sixty-six times before, and with 24 wins, 21 draws, and 21 defeats its Shamrock Rovers who lead the head to head record. Dundalk are unbeaten against Shamrock in their last five encounters.
Shamrock could be without four of their first team squad as Sam Bone, Brandon Miele, Sean Boyd, and Trevor Clarke all have injuries.
John Mountney, Stephen O’Donnell, and Sean Gannon are set to miss the trip to Tallaght due to injury.