League Preview: Shamrock Rovers -v- Derry City
Published: August 04, 2017


Last Friday Rovers' excellent home league record – undefeated since Cork’s visit on St. Patrick’s Day – came unstuck against Bohemian’s impressive away record. The Gypsies beat Rovers 2-1 earning Bohs their seventh away league win this season (compared with just their three home wins).


It was a disappointing defeat and performance for Rovers in that Dublin Derby as it allowed Friday’s visitors to Tallaght, third placed Derry City, open up a five point lead over the Hoops in the table. Indeed with Bohs winning in Cork on Monday, the Gypsies are only three points behind Rovers – although Stephen Bradley’s men have a game in hand over Derry, Bohs and Bray (who the Hoops have a two point lead on).


Rovers lost Ronan Finn to injury ahead of last Friday’s game, on match day Roberto Lopes required emergency surgery after suffering abdominal pains and Sam Bone ended the game early with fractured eye socket. Bone’s error on his short return to play after the bang on the head allowed the Gypsies get the winner.


Speaking to the Irish Sun after the game Stephen Bradley explained in relation to the Bone injury that “we spoke to him in the dressing room three times and he told the medical staff three times that he was fine, he felt no dizziness.


“It did affect him but sometimes you have to trust what you’re told, the medical staff, the doctor and player all telling you he’s fine, no dizziness, you have to trust that.”


Having come into the game on the back of an excellent win and performance in Dundalk in their previous game, the Hoops were very slow to start and weren’t able to take the game to the visitors as the Gypsies did to Rovers.


“We didn’t play well enough to win the game,” was Bradley’s honest assessment. “We should have got a draw with the chances we created at the end but without really playing well.


“We weren’t great and didn’t manage the match. We went long when we should have gone short and vice versa. We should have got a draw but it was not good enough to win.”


Reports are that Finn will be available for the game but while Lopes’ surgery went well, he won’t return until the surgical wound has healed which should see him back training within a week . It looks likely that Sam Bone is unavailable as he is waiting for a face mask to protect the damage around his eye.


New Hoops signing Lee Grace from Galway United is likely to come straight into the team for this crucial game against Derry City.



The Candystripes come to Tallaght looking to solidify their current third place in the table with good recent form in the Dublin venue having won three times and drawn once in their last four visits.


Of course they last time they visited Tallaght, Ryan McBride got the winner for this team. After the tragic death of their talismanic captain, understandably City’s results suffered with the team failing to find a win in their next seven matches. However Kenny Sheils has galvanised his team who come into the game having won four of their last five league games and have the advantage of five points over Rovers for the last automatic qualification place for Europe (albeit they have played an extra game).


They had an impressive 3-0 win over Limerick last Sunday night and their manager was pleased with the entertaining win which concluded the weekend. “It was a good performance,” said Shiels speaking to derrycityfc.net.  “We managed the game well at times, we entertained at times and we were a bit laborious at times.  I just wanted to make people happy on a Sunday evening, that is very high on my list. We play with panache, sometimes a little bit of arrogance”


A win over Rovers would also give City more momentum in a possible quest to pip Dundalk for runners up spot. With the ‘outgoing’ champions still due to visit Maginn Park, the seven point margin that Dundalk currently have over the Candystripes is certainly not insurmountable.


Ben Doherty got City’s third goal off the bench against Limerick last week and he is treating this game like a “cup final” with European qualification very much up for grabs.


“We just have to push on for Friday night and Shamrock Rovers where we need to get the three points and nothing less,” said Doherty speaking to the Derry Journal. “A draw would probably be a good result, but we want to keep away from the mix as much as we can because last year we were caught up in a dogfight.


“So, hopefully, we can get third place wrapped up as soon as possible and play our football the way we enjoy playing it, without that pressure and show teams what we can do. Tallaght will be our cup final against Rovers. It’s a game we need to win and it should cement our place in third.”

Shiels added three players to his squad this week with Mikey Place coming in from Sligo along with 19-year-old goalkeeper Tom McDermott from Tottenham Hotspur. Slovakian winger Jozef Dolny has also been added to the squad. The 25-year-old attacking played was playing most recently in the second tier of the Polish league with TS Podbeskidzie Bielsko-Bia?a in the Polish top division.


Referee: Robert Harvey.



It is 2015 since the Hoops’ last win over the Candystripes. That was a 4-1 win at Tallaght Stadium but since then Derry City have earned five wins and a draw.


The sides last met in Maginn Park back in mid-May with the Candystripes winning 3-1.


Gary Shaw is Rovers’ top league goalscorer with seven goals. Barry McNamee is City top scorer with the player bagging nine goals from midfield.



Shamrock Rovers 5/4; Draw 12/5; Derry City 21/10.





Shamrock Rovers  

Injured: Paul Corry, Roberto Lopes

Doubtful: None.

Suspended: None.


Derry City

Injured: None.

Doubtful: None.

Suspended: Nicky Low.


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Macdara Ferris

Macdara Ferris is a contributor since 2007 to Hoops Scene (Shamrock Rovers' match day programme) and the co-author of Tallaght Time: Shamrock Rovers 2009 to 2012. He still believes that one day he will see Rovers win the FAI Cup. The first international game he attended was Luxembourg being dispatched 2-1 at Lansdowne Road by Jack Charlton's Ireland team.

He has been a writer with extratime.ie since 2012 covering the League of Ireland, the Irish National team and a few Champions League finals. He has also been known to pop up in far flung places like Ballybofey, Belfast, Berlin and Brazil to report for extratime.

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