Preview: Rovers vs Shamrock R
Sligo Rovers vs Shamrock Rovers
SSE Airtricty League
Saturday August 29th 7:45pm
The Bit o'Red return SSE Airtricity League action having won in the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup last weekend over Cobh Wanderers.
When Rovers last were in league action back-to-back wins were earned over Drogheda United and Derry City.
Following last night's results a draw would see Rovers up to 9th and maybe even 8th depending on other results.
Rovers: Henderson, Devaney, Ledwith and Clancy are out of this game for Micky Adams.
There is a boost with Morten Nielsen back to full fitness after missing the win last week.
Shamrock R: Top scorer Mikey Drennan is suspended as is winger Marty Waters.
Micky Adams: “They will go into this game as favourites, they are a good side that are going for europe. They have good players, a good manager and a good set-up, everything about them is top class. So we will be expecting a very difficult game against them."
Alan Keane: “On Saturday we won’t fear Shams coming down. They are on a roll but we are on a roll. We are at home and once we get the place back rocking again like it was on Monday that gives us a massive lift as well. We will be looking to get the three points and hopefully we do but at worst we would take a draw. The target is to win every game, that might not happen but that’s our target.”
Shamrock Rovers are chasing a first league title since 2011, they are 12 points behind leaders and champions Dundalk but with two games in hand.
Since losing at home to St. Pat's three weeks ago they have got big wins by beating Longford Town 3-1 and Cork City 3-0.
They are out of both cup competitions with losses on both to St. Pat's.
Last home win
06/10/13 Sligo Rovers 3 Shamrock Rovers 0
Played in front of a fantastic atmosphere fitting to any cup semi final, it was the away side who threatened first. But with five minutes elapsed former Rovers player McCabe could only blast his shot from 20 yards high over Gary Rogers' crossbar.
The Bit o'Red were forced to play several minutes of the opening period with ten men after Jeff Henderson was sent to the home side's dressing room for treatment on a head wound following a clash with Robinson. The Tallaght side enjoyed the better of the play during this period and Ronan Finn saw his glancing header sail off target on 18 minutes having been teed up by Ken Oman.
In the seconds following Henderson's return, the Hoops had to rely on the quick thinking of Conor McCormack who hooked away a Kieran Djilali cross which almost sneaked in at the back post.
Rovers were hoping to progress to their fourth cup decider in five years and the league champions took a step in the right direction on 24 minutes when they broke through the middle with Djilali, who found Aaron Green on the left. His initial cross was miss-hit by captain Danny Ventre who, unmarked, had the time and space to blast past Richard Brush at the second attempt for his fourth goal of the season.
The westerners had the chance to double their lead four minutes later when goalscorer Ventre teed up North who, from the angle, failed to beat Brush with a tame effort which was dealt with by the former Rovers goalkeeper with relative ease.
Hoops winger Billy Dennehy should have done better with his shot from the edge of the Rovers box which the Kerryman screwed badly wide of Rogers' post on 43 minutes.
The same player sent his header wide of the target two minutes into injury time at the end of the first half after he latched on to the end of a searching Finn cross from the right. The Dubliners going into the second half with a one goal deficit to claw back.
North tested Brush once more eight minutes into the second half after some good interplay between the former St Pat's man and Cretaro.
Croly withdrew McCabe in place of Mark Quigley on the hour mark in place of McCabe in an effort to boost his attacking options.
Dennehy sent his header from the back post wide from a Finn cross from the right following good work from Thomas Stewart down the same side on 63 minutes.
Rovers were then forced to withdraw Henderson from the game two minutes later due to the head injury he sustained in the opening half. Danny Ventre deputised at centre half after David Cawley was introduced in place of the afflicted Henderson.
Cretaro was presented with a great chance with 20 minutes remaining. Joseph Ndo's clever scooped ball over the top found the Tubbercurry man who under the close attention of McCormack fluffed his lines at the vital moment as the ball dribbled harmlessly wide.
Rovers took a huge step towards a berth in the decider on 73 minutes. Ndo's through ball was played perfectly into the path of Cretaro before referee Alan Kelly adjudged McCormack to have tripped the Rovers striker inside the Hoops' box as he made his way toward goal before dismissing the former Manchester United trainee. Alan Keane then blasted the ball beyond Brush from twelve yards to double the Bit o'Red's lead.
The reigning Setanta Sports Cup holder, clearly frustrated by their lack of clear cut chances in the second half had their net minder to thank again twelve minutes before the final whistle. On a Rovers counter attack, Djilali played in Greene whose fierce drive was blocked away by Brush.
Late substitute Anthony Elding's acrobatic effort flew over Brush's crossbar on 87 minutes after he was supplied by an inviting Ndo cross from the right.
Elding did put the tie beyond doubt on 89 minutes after Quigley inadvertently sent the ball into the path of Greene who searched out Rovers's top scorer in plenty of space. Elding calmly slotted the ball beyond Brush to send the Bit o'Red firmly on their way to November's decider.
Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Alan Keane, Evan McMillan, Jeff Henderson (for David Cawley 65), Iarfhlaith Davoren; Raffaele Cretaro (for Anthony Elding 86), Danny Ventre, Joseph Ndo, Kieran Djilali, Aaron Greene; Danny North (for Seamus Conneely 67).
Shamrock Rovers: Richard Brush; Conor McCormack, Ken Oman, Jason McGuinness, Conor Powell; Gary McCabe (for Mark Quigley 60), Richie Ryan, Shane Robinson, Ronan Finn (for Karl Sheppard 82), Billy Dennehy (for Sean O'Connor 70); Thomas Stewart.
Referee: Derek Tomney
Assistant Referees: Wayne McDonnell & Darragh Keegan
Fourth Official: Robert Harvey
Commentary: Live radio updates on Ocean FM (oceanfm.ie) from Darragh Cox
Updates: Live updates on our Twitter account @sligorovers
Tonight's match programme will be on sale for €4 at the game and has all the usual features.
Match sponsor: Senator Pascal Mooney
Ball sponsor: Arrotek Collooney
Tickets will be available at the gate at the following prices:
Kids under 12: €5
All major credit and debit cards will be accepted at the gate.