Preview: Buckley keen for Rovers to seize the day

Sligo Rovers take on Shamrock Rovers in the FAI Cup semi-final in Tallaght Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Kick-off is 2pm for the match to be broadcast on WATCHLOI and Ocean FM.

The Bit O’ Red are competing in the semi-final for the second year in succession.

It’s the first semi-final between the sides in the competition since 2013.

Liam Buckley has led Rovers to their best league season since that year after finishing fourth in the table.

In team news, Niall Morahan and Jesse Devers return from suspension. Ronan Murray and Johnny Dunleavy miss out through injury.

Liam Buckley said: “Winning was all that counted on Wednesday. It wasn’t a performance we were overly happy with and we certainly need to improve on that. But in the FAI Cup, it’s all about the result and winning in whatever way you can. The most important thing was we progressed.

“The players will one day look back on their career and what they won during it, and that means medals and trophies. It’s why we’re here. There’s a lot at stake so hopefully we can give a performance. I can’t tell you hard how our players have worked. That’s in the gym, at home, at training, being away from their families and all throughout a challenging year. I’m glad they got the reward of finishing fourth and I would love them to have a FAI Cup final as well. We know what is at stake here.

“We’ve reflected back on our last game against Shamrock Rovers on what improvements we can make from it. That said, we played them four times last year, won one, drew two and lost one I think. It was a tight game at the start of the year, even with all of the injuries we had. There wasn’t a lot in it. They played well the last day, there is no doubt about that with a 4-0 scoreline. I’m hoping it can be a bit tighter at the weekend.

“We’ll go with a plan to try to progress to the final. Playing Wednesday to Sunday is not absolutely ideal, we’d like a week of course, but it’s not an issue for us. It’s a semi-final, we go there with a plan in place to get the result. We’ll be as ready as we can be.   

“We know Shamrock Rovers are best team in the league by a stretch. I’m sure they will cause us problems and we have to curtail what we can. We know the run they’ve been on but we don’t think they’re unbeatable. We’ve got a lot of quality players in our group as well. The players have shown that and I feel there is more to come from us. This is a stage to show it.

“It’s a great game to be involved in and while I know there won’t be supporters, we’re all aware they’ll be looking at WATCHLOI. We appreciate all the good wishes and we’re going to give it our all to try to get through to the final.”