- Thursday July 29th, 2021 @ 12:07
Preview: Saints Vs Shamrock Rovers (30/07/21)
Another Dublin Derby Day awaits on Friday as St Patrick's Athletic make the short trip to Tallaght to face rivals Shamrock Rovers.
Kick-off is at 8pm, live on LOITV.
The Saints come into the game on the back of an impressive 6-0 win in the FAI cup against Bray Wanderers.
Two from Billy King and goals from Jay McClelland, Ben McCormack, Sam Bone and Paddy Barrett was enough to see them through to a last-16 tie away to Cork City at the end of August.
The focus on Friday turns back to the league, St Pat's come into the game after a 2-0 victory over Drogheda United at Richmond Park two weeks ago.
Second-half goals from Chris Forrester and Robbie Benson sealed all three points, leaving them level at the top with Shamrock Rovers ahead of the clash on Friday night.
Opposition Watch and Recent Meetings
Shamrock Rovers are currently top of the league, ahead of The Saints on goal difference and having played one game less.
The sides have met on two occasions already this year, with late drama in both games.
They met back in March in the first game of the season in Tallaght.
A Robbie Benson cross was turned into his own net by Roberto Lopes in the 87th minute and it looked as if it had given St Pat's the win, but Aaron Greene equalised 90 seconds later as the spoils were shared.
It was heartbreak for The Saints in Richmond just over a month later.
Chris Forrester's early goal was cancelled out by a Graham Burke strike just before the half-time break.
As the game looked destined for a draw, Danny Mandroiu raced through on goal at the death to score and win it for Stephen Bradley's side.
The Hoops were also in FAI Cup action last weekend, they beat Galway United 2-0 in Tallaght while their last league game had plenty of goals as they enjoyed a 4-2 victory over Derry City at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.
View From The Dugout
Head Coach Stephen O'Donnell is looking forward to the test in Tallaght:
"It's a good game, they always are good games against Rovers. We're going to Tallaght which is a great place to play, it's lovely surface and a great arena so it's a match we are really looking forward to, it's a really good game to play.
We are 21 games in, and in a good position in the league and probably nobody expected us to be there apart from ourselves internally, we knew what we were capable of in the group, but the lads are exceeding expectations and the way they are working week on week is great.
We are just going like we are every other week to try and put on a performance in the sense of application, intensity and honesty and see where that takes us. That's what the players have done throughout the season and they have been brilliant in that regard.
Week in, week out, they are really working hard during the week in preparation for the matches. It's a game we are really looking forward to so in regard to pressure, there's no real pressure on us. As I said, not many people would have predicted where we are at so it's a game we are looking forward to.
We enjoy going to Tallaght, the fixtures against Shamrock Rovers are high quality games, I think it's two decent teams and Friday will be no different."
When Paddy Barrett picked up the ball on the halfway line last Friday, there wasn't one person in Richmond who could have predicted what happened next.
He went on a run towards the Bray box and it looked as if the chance may have gone, but the centre-back retained possession and as space opened up, he unleashed a thunderbolt into the top corner from 25 yards out, to round of a near perfect performance, and score his first goal from the club.
Barrett's attention quickly turns to the Derby:
"It's a massive game. It's one that we are really looking forward to. It's obviously going to be a different test to previous weeks because obviously we've been at home and I think we have been comfortable at home the past few weeks, but going away to the league champions, we know it's going to be a difficult game but it's one that we are going to prepare for this week and it's one we are really excited for.
We know what we are up against, we know how good Shamrock Rovers are but we are more than capable of going down there and if we put in the performances that we have been doing, I'm fully sure that we can go down there and get the win we need."
Team-news: Matty Smith will serve a one match ban while Shane Griffin (shoulder) could be available as his recovery continues to progress. Adam Murphy will miss the game through injury.
Where Can You Watch The Game: The game will be live on LOITV, with kick-off at the slightly later time of 8pm on Friday night.
Updates: You can catch updates across all of our social media channels, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.
Photo credit: Inpho Sports