Champions Rovers ready to step up their pursuit of the double in Ballybofey

Player of the Month Murray says cup success would complete a good season for Dundalk

Dundalk’s Sean Murray in action against Arsenal’s Reiss Nelson during the recent Europa League clash at the  Emirates Stadium, London. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Dundalk’s Sean Murray in action against Arsenal’s Reiss Nelson during the recent Europa League clash at the Emirates Stadium, London. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

 

Having won the league by a distance, Shamrock Rovers will turn their attention to the pursuit of what would the club’s first double in 33 years when they head to Ballybofey on Friday afternoon.

Stephen Bradley will be suspended himself after having been sent to the stand at Tolka Park last week but the manager says he will have a full squad to choose from despite Jack Byrne getting on towards the end of Ireland’s game with Bulgaria and a handful of other players having been away on international duty.

The Hoops beat their hosts away in the league at the start of the month but as that was Harps’ only defeat in eight and that they have won against Waterford since to guarantee their top flight status for next season, Ollie Horgan’s side might just feel they have another surprise left in them.

Seán Murray is likely to feature for Dundalk in the other game of the day at Dalymount Park with the 27-year-old’s recent run of form recognised on Thursday when he was named as the SSE Airtricity/SWAI Player of the Month for October.

He won the award for the first time after having scored for the club in European games against KI and Molde as well as the league encounter with Derry City.

“Obviously we want to win the cup,” he says. “It’s massive. That’s going to be huge for us. Friday is the next step in that and we’ve got to go out there and give everything,” he said.

“It would kind of top off the year as well. Having a good European run and winning the FAI Cup would be brilliant. If you had said at the start of the year that we’d get into the group stages and win the cup then I’d say at any club that’s a good year of football.

“Obviously I had a good month in October but I just need to push on from that now and finish the year strong. Then we can look to next year and push on again.

“We can take a lot of confidence from the games we’ve played in Europe. I thought the team were brilliant against Rapid. Maybe we didn’t get the result we wanted but there were some great performances. As a team we’re in a great place and hopefully we can push on on Friday and carry on with that.”

Pat Hoban misses the game with an ankle injury while Pat McEleney and Michael Duffy are doubts. The hosts Bohemians have Anto Breslin suspended and full back Andy Lyons is ruled out with an arm injury. Keith Ward (Achilles) faces a late test.

“We’d love nothing more than to be playing this game in front of a packed Dalymount,” says Bohemians boss Keith Long, “but we also know that the fans are watching the games from home and are behind the team. We don’t want our season to be over tonight and the players will do everything to win this game.”

The semi-finals have now been fixed for Sunday week, the 29th, with the final, at the Aviva Stadium to take place on December 6th.

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