Shamrock Rovers aiming to test high-flying Dundalk’s mettle

Striker Gary Shaw says Hoops envious of what Stephen Kenny’s side have achieved

Dundalk’s Daryl Horgan with his SSE Airtricity/SWAI Player of the Month Award for September at Merrion Square Park, Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Dundalk’s Daryl Horgan with his SSE Airtricity/SWAI Player of the Month Award for September at Merrion Square Park, Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

 

Ahead of the sides’ first meeting of the season back in April, former Shamrock Rovers manager Pat Fenlon spoke of his disappointment at what he saw as champions Dundalk’s gloating about having clinched the title in Tallaght last season.

And the envy in Dublin 24 hasn’t gone away ahead of this season’s final meeting between the teams tonight.

Dundalk will arrive four points clear at the top of the table after Tuesday’s rousing 2-1 victory over nearest challengers Cork City while Rovers are on the rebound from a deficient performance in losing to arch-rivals Bohemians.

“You’re playing for Shamrock Rovers, but you’re constantly asked about Dundalk and ‘what do you think of Dundalk?’,” said Rovers’ striker Gary Shaw.

“And ‘what do you think of Daryl Horgan?’ and “should he get into the (Ireland) squad?’. “You’re just kind of like… fair play to them, hats off to them, hats off to Daryl, I think he’s a brilliant player and I know him really well.

“But you want that to be you and you want people to be talking about Shamrock Rovers and how you’re doing individually.

“They’ve done so well this year that they have everyone talking, so you can understand where it’s coming from, but at the same time you still have that fire in your belly that you want it to be you.

“It is frustrating, but at the same time I can understand why people are talking about them because it is a brilliant achievement what they’ve done so far.”

Red card

Robbie Benson and Sean Gannon are out for Dundalk with respective groin and calf injuries. Patrick McEleney is a doubt with a recurrence of his hip problem while Ciaran Kilduff is recovering from concussion.

Following his goal of the season contender in front of Martin O’Neill on Tuesday night adding to his outstanding form in general this season, Dundalk winger Daryl Horgan is taking talk of a possible call up to the Republic of Ireland squad next month in his stride.

“To hear him speaking highly of me is fantastic, but it doesn’t really overly effect me,” said 24-yer-old Horgan of Ireland manager O’Neill.

“I just have to keep going the way I’m playing and play well and work hard for the team which is the most important thing.

“If I’m not working hard I know I won’t be playing because we’ve such a strong squad. Even though he mainly mentioned me, I’m sure he’s looking at some other lads as there’s a lot of good players there.”

Though there was interest from Barnsley and Torquay United in the past, and Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich Town reportedly watched him on Tuesday, Horgan stressed there was ‘nothing there’ at the minute on further approaches from Britain.

“You’d have to consider everything that is thrown your way, but I can’t see myself leaving Dundalk for something that’s not going to be of a higher standard or a similar standard.

“We’re showing that we can compete in the Europa League. The financial aspects are that there’s so much money in England it’s nearly disgusting but, look, you’d have to see and at the minute I’m really, really happy at Dundalk.”

Hoping for a favour from Tallaght to help get them back in the hunt, Cork City manager John Caulfield will want an immediate return to winning ways when Finn Harps visit Turner’s Cross.

“We were all disappointed with the result on Tuesday, but we’ve to pick ourselves up,” said Caulfield “There are still fifteen points to play for and all we can do is look after ourselves and see if we can keep the pressure on.”

Cork await fitness tests on midfielders Gearoid Morrissey and Steven Beattie. With five points from their last three games, third-bottom Finn Harps look all but safe as they travel south without Keith Cowan, Ruairi Keating and Kevin McHugh while Sean Houston and Barry Molloy are injury concerns

Tonight’s fixtures (7.45 unless stated)

Premier Division

Bray Wanderers v St Patrick’s Athletic – Home: 6/4; Draw: 11/5; Away: 15/8; Cork City v Finn Harps – Home: 1/6; Draw: 6/1; Away: 16/1; Derry City v Bohemians – Home: 8/13; Draw: 3/1; Away: 4/1; Shamrock Rovers v Dundalk (Live on RTE2) – Home: 4/1; Draw: 14/5; Away: 4/6; Sligo Rovers v Longford Town – Home: 4/9; Draw: 16/5; Away: 13/2; Wexford Youths v Galway United (8.0) – Home: 2/1; Draw: 5/2; Away: 13/10.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.