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Preview: Drogheda United vs. Shelbourne And Shamrock Rovers vs. Dundalk

Preview: Drogheda United vs. Shelbourne And Shamrock Rovers vs. Dundalk


Drogheda United vs. Shelbourne

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Looking to bring an end to their highly-concerning eight-game winless run, Drogheda United will pit their wits against league leaders Shelbourne at Weavers Park in a League of Ireland clash on Thursday night.

The Drogs come into this fixture following their heaviest defeat of the campaign, whilst the pacesetting Shels are hoping to move a step closer to their first Irish crown in over 15 years.


Match preview

Since the much-needed 2-1 success over fellow strugglers Dundalk on May 6, Drogheda United have suffered a winless streak of eight matches, leaving their status as a League of Ireland outfit in serious doubt heading towards the business end of the term, with their four-year stay at this level nearing its conclusion.

Last time out saw the Drogs visit the home of second-placed Derry City and return to Weavers Park after receiving their biggest battering of the 2024 schedule to date, with strikes from Cameron DummiganWilliam PatchingDaniel KellyPatrick Hoban and Ciaran Coll condemning the visitors to a 5-1 drubbing.

Needless to say, Drogheda were nowhere near ending their 12-game run without a victory on the road at Brandywell Stadium, so you imagine that Kevin Doherty‘s men will be delighted that Thursday’s clash is at Weavers Park, where they have collected 13 of their 16 top-tier points to date.

Approaching the business end of the campaign, the Drogs need a miraculous turnaround of their fortunes to avoid a bottom-two finish, with Thursday’s hosts currently sitting at the foot of the League of Ireland standings, nine points behind eighth-placed Bohemian, who have played two games fewer.

Only four players have scored more than once for Drogheda this season, with Haiti striker Frantz Pierrot leading the strugglers’ goalscoring charts with four strikes – only a fraction of what he managed in the second tier for Athlone Town during the 2023 campaign.

Since their most recent League of Ireland title in 2006, Shelbourne have been on a dramatic journey, dipping down into the lower leagues of the Irish game for prolonged periods before bouncing back, with Thursday’s hosts now on course to add a 13th league crown to their honours list.

Following a shock 2-1 home defeat to mid-table dwellers Sligo Rovers, the Shels have collected maximum points from the last three matches without conceding a goal, putting one past both Dundalk and third-placed Waterford United before recording a two-goal victory over Galway United on Friday night.

Shelbourne’s success so far in 2024 has been built on a rock-solid defensive foundation, with Damien Duff‘s troops conceding just 14 goals in 23 league fixtures and keeping five clean sheets in their last seven games, highlighting the great work of centre-back pairing Patrick Barrett and Kameron Ledwidge.

Ahead of Thursday night’s trip to the division’s basement boys, the Shels are sitting pretty at the summit of the League of Ireland table, two points ahead of second-placed Derry, who are also showing no signs of slowing down in the title race after winning four straight matches since the beginning of June.

Owing to their fourth-placed finish during the 2023 campaign, Shelbourne will compete in the qualifying rounds of the UEFA Conference League next week, facing a two-legged affair with St Joseph’s of Gibraltar for a place in the second qualification stage.

Team News

After receiving his marching orders during the heavy defeat to Derry last time out, Pierrot will be unable to feature for Drogheda on Thursday night.

With a main source of goals unavailable, extra attacking burden will be placed on the young shoulders of Drogs forward Evan Weir, who has netted four times in 19 league fixtures in 2024.

Doherty’s side have a host of first-team stars currently nursing issues in the medical room, including Aaron McNallyGary Deegan and American midfielder Steve Bawa.

Following a comfortable success over Galway, Shelbourne are likely to name an unchanged side, with Sean Gannon and Tyreke Wilson keeping their spots in the full-back roles.

Topping his team’s goalscoring and assist charts, Hull City loanee Will Jarvis is a shining light of the division and will continue on the left flank at Weavers Park.


Drogheda United possible starting lineup:
Wogan; Quinn, Heeney, Keaney, Kane; Brennan, O’Brien, Foley, Davis, Weir; Bosakani

Shelbourne possible starting lineup:
Kearns; Gannon, Barrett, Ledwidge, Wilson; Caffrey, Lunney, Burt, Smith, Jarvis; Martin


Shamrock Rovers vs. Dundalk

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Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk will face off at Tallaght Stadium on Thursday, both eager to return to winning ways in the League of Ireland Premier Division.

After back-to-back defeats, Shamrock Rovers sit fourth in the league, 15 points behind the leaders in their latest title defense, while Dundalk find themselves six points adrift of safety in the relegation playoff spot.


Match Preview

Shamrock Rovers, having won the League of Ireland Premier Division in each of the last four seasons, find themselves in an uncharacteristically disappointing campaign. Currently fourth after 22 matches, they have amassed just 31 points, with eight wins and seven defeats. This already exceeds their loss count from any of their last four title-winning seasons, with five of those losses coming in their last eight games.

Stephen Bradley’s side experienced a winless streak in May but managed important victories against Derry City and Drogheda United. However, they have since faltered, losing their last two outings in June. They squandered a 1-0 lead against St Patrick’s Athletic, ultimately losing 2-1, and then suffered a 2-0 defeat to Sligo Rovers, with Simon Power scoring twice in the final 20 minutes.

As a result, Shamrock Rovers now trail third-placed Waterford by two points, second-placed Derry City by 13, and leaders Shelbourne by 15, with only 14 games remaining. With their title hopes fading, they will be desperate to improve their form and secure a top-three finish.

Dundalk, meanwhile, aim to bounce back after a setback in their fight for survival. They have been in the bottom two for most of the season, beginning with an 11-match winless streak that yielded just five points. They eventually secured their first win and have shown signs of improvement under new manager Jon Daly, achieving crucial victories over St Patrick’s Athletic and Sligo Rovers.

However, Dundalk’s progress was halted by a 2-0 home defeat to Waterford, leaving them in the relegation playoff spot. Despite this, they remain hopeful of closing the six-point gap to safety and will look to rebound on Thursday.

Team News

Stephen Bradley may make several changes to his Shamrock Rovers starting XI following their latest defeat. Aaron Greene, who has scored eight goals this season, is likely to return to lead the line, potentially rejoining Celtic loanee Johnny Kenny, who tops their scoring charts with nine goals in 19 appearances. Graham Burke should continue in a supporting role in their 3-4-1-2 setup.

If defender Dan Cleary remains sidelined due to injury, Darragh Nugent is expected to deputize alongside Roberto Lopes and Josh Honohan in the back three. Aaron McEneff will push for a midfield start after Dylan Watts and Gary O’Neill were preferred against Sligo Rovers.

Dundalk will likely be without Scottish forward Jamie Gullan, who has missed their last two games due to injury after scoring a team-high five goals in his first 20 league appearances. In his absence, 18-year-old Eoin Kenny led the line against Waterford, but Cameron Elliott will compete for a starting spot up front, with Robbie Benson set to support the chosen striker.

Daryl Horgan and Ryan O’Kane will provide further attacking threat on the wings, while John Mountney is expected to partner with Paul Doyle in the midfield.

Predicted Lineups

Shamrock Rovers:

Pohls; Nugent, Lopes, Honohan; Towell, McEneff, Watts, Poom; Burke; Kenny, Greene

Dundalk:

Munro; Davies, Johnson, Muller, Keogh; Horgan, Mountney, Doyle, O’Kane; Benson; Elliott

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