Doolin irked by fixture pile-up

 

UCD travel to face St Patrick's Athletic at Richmond Park tonight tempering their annoyance at having to play three times in seven days with the knowledge they are in exceptional form.

St Patrick's and Shelbourne have brought the games forward 24 hours because they co-host a tournament with Leeds United and Aston Villa at Tolka Park on Saturday and Sunday.

"I can understand Shels and Pat's needing these tournaments to raise revenue, but it's not fair on us," said College manager Paul Doolin. "We played last Friday and then on Monday against Rovers in hot conditions, which would have taken a lot out of us.

"Having said that, I feel we are playing really well at the moment and over the last six games have shown our best form of the season."

With club captain Tony McDonnell out for at least another week with a hamstring strain, Doolin goes with the same 16 he used against Rovers.

Having had their match with Bohemians postponed last week, league leaders Shelbourne are injury-free and refreshed ahead of a hectic four-match schedule over the next week.

Two games in the aforementioned weekend tournament follow tonight's home game with Cork City. And on Monday Pat Fenlon's side fly to Slovenia for Thursday's UEFA Cup qualifying tie with Olimpija Ljubljana.

"We'll take each game as it comes and everyone will get a run-out, particularly over the weekend," said Fenlon.

Cork City may have captain Greg O'Halloran on the bench after he came through 45 minutes of a friendly at the weekend, just a fortnight after a knee operation.

Out is striker Denis Behan, who strained ankle ligaments last week. Defender Alan Carey is a doubt after an appendicitis scare.

Alan Gough may play his last game in goal for Derry City against Shamrock Rovers at the Brandywell tonight before a proposed move to Linfield, as new signing Wayne Russell is struggling with a leg injury. Robbie Hedderman is in line for his debut at left back, while Liam Coyle should return to lead the attack.

Rovers midfielder Alan Reynolds will have a late fitness test on the knee knock that forced him to miss the 1-1 draw at UCD on Monday. "A draw at Belfield was probably a reasonable result despite what was said elsewhere," said manager Liam Buckley in reference to Doolin's remarkable description of Rovers as "atrocious".

FIXTURES (7.45 unless stated): National League Premier Division: Derry City v Shamrock Rovers; St Patrick's Athletic v UCD; Shelbourne v Cork City. First Division: Limerick FC v Monaghan United (7.30).