The Saints face the Hoops in Inchicore TONIGHT as Liam Buckley's side look to advance to the semi-finals of the FAI Ford Cup, kick-off in Richmond Park is 7.45pm.
Tickets for Friday's game are on sale now and fans are encouraged to purchase their tickets early to avoid any pre-match congestion.
Results between the sides in league games this year have varied with the Hoops winning 3-0 at home in March, and the Saints winning last month in Tallaght thanks to four Conan Byrne goals in a 4-0 win. In the sole meeting between the sides in Inchicore this year, the game ended scoreless.
In the most recent FAI Cup tie between the sides, the Hoops claimed the bragging rights after defeating Pete Mahon's Saints in the semi-finals in October 2010. Having left Tallaght with a 2-2 draw, the 10 men of Pats were defeated by a single goal in the replay from the boot of Chris Turner. However Michael O'Neill's Hoops ended up being defeated on penalties in the final that year by Sligo Rovers, who featured current Saint John Russell amongst their ranks.
For current Saints' manager Liam Buckley, the magic of the cup is something which still excites him and he revealed that his players were looking forward to the game on Friday.
“When you get to the last eight of the cup, every team and set of players start dreaming of getting to that big day in the Aviva at the end of the season. It's only natural as that's the magic of the cup,” Buckley told stpatsfc.com.
“Having got there last season, it would be great if we can get there again, and obviously brilliant if we could go one better. That being said, we've got this huge game on Friday and we've got to get through it first. It's a game that all the fans get really excited for so the players are all really focused on the game and the job they have to do.”
In team news, Buckley confirmed that his only absentee for Friday's game against Shamrock Rovers will be Stephen Maher who suffered a leg break in Derry last week. Elsewhere should Saints' striker Anto Flood make an appearance on Friday, he will reach the 50 game landmark in all competitions.
For Saints' skipper Conor Kenna, the rivalry between the two sides is something he is well aware of having family from the Inchicore area, and as he now both lives and works in the Tallaght area. “Yeah living up in Tallaght and working up in Tallaght hospital, you're always bound to see lots of Shamrock Rovers' fans around the place,” Kenna told stpatsfc.com.
“Thankfully of late I've had the bragging rights as we'd a good win in the league last month and we're top of the league, so hopefully that'll remain the case after the game on Friday.”
For the 28 year old defender though, the local rivalry is something that is put to one side once the game kicks off as he maintains that the Saints' side focus is solely on getting a result to progress to the FAI Ford Cup semi-finals.
“Yeah as big as the rivalry is, we just all switch on when the game gets underway. We set ourselves a goal to get back to the Aviva after losing last year's final and that's what we're still aiming to do. We have Rovers on Friday though so we know we've got to get past them if we're to keep going, so we'll be doing everything we can to make sure we win.”
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