Shamrock Rovers host rivals Bohemians tonight in one of the most highly anticipated Dublin derbies in recent memory.
The pair currently sit first and second in the Airtricity League Premier Division with Rovers looking to clinch their ninth win on the spin at Tallaght Stadium tonight.
Bohemians have already defeated the Hoops this campaign and have had their number over the past couple of seasons, but who will come out on top when the pair clash this evening?
Here are the main talking points ahead of tonight’s crucial Dublin derby.
Will Shamrock Rovers Make It Nine Wins In A Row At Tallaght Stadium Tonight?
Before the season began, Dundalk were understandably the heavy favourites to retain their league title.
Shamrock Rovers were expected to be one of their newest challengers, but even the most optimistic of Hoops’ fans will have been blown away by the start they have made.
31 points won out of a possible 36, and just one defeat all season, Rovers have firmly staked their claim at the league title in the first 12 games.
The only blot on their record though did come rather disappointingly against their Dublin rivals Bohemians at the start of the campaign.
Since then Rovers have won eight in a row and sit eight points clear of Bohemians, who have a game in hand, at the top of the table.
Their eye-catching and free-flowing style of play has impressed many as they look to make it nine in a row at Tallaght Stadium tonight.
Can Bohemians Continue Their Strong Recent Form Against Rovers?
Although Shamrock Rovers are this season’s early frontrunners, their Dublin rivals have had their number over the past few seasons when it comes to the derby.
Bohemians have won five of the last six clashes between the pair with a Dalymount draw last May the only point Rovers have managed to pick up in recent times.
Keith Long’s men also bettered Stephen Bradley’s earlier this season in Phibsboro thanks to Dinny Corcoran’s goal. The only defeat the Hoops have suffered in the league this campaign.
The away side currently sit third in the table and have won four of their last five in the league, with a narrow defeat to champions Dundalk their only defeat.
Will Jack Byrne Prove To Be The Difference As He Has So Often This Season?
What a tremendous addition to Irish football Jack Byrne has been since his arrival in the off-season.
Byrne has been central to Rovers’ success this season and his influence and ability in the middle of the park have added a different dimension to the Hoops.
The 23-year old has proven he can get on the scoresheet, scoring three times since his arrival at Tallaght Stadium and rightfully earning a call-up to the full Irish senior setup.
Byrne will also be looking to make up for the defeat against Bohemians in February, a game in which he failed to have as big an impact as he has shown on so many occasions this season.
If he is on song tonight, then Rovers should have too much for their Dublin rivals.