Drogheda United travel to Tallaght Stadium to take on Shamrock Rovers in the final game of the season, with the Boynesiders knowing they must match or better Limerick’s result against Sligo if they are to secure a promotion/relegation play-off spot.
Pat Fenlon’s Shamrock Rovers go into the last game of the season sitting third in the league, knowing there is still a possibility that they could finish the season in second place. The Hoops are two points behind Cork City, meaning a win for Rovers and a Cork defeat away to Bohemians, who need a win to stand any chance of clinching European football next season, will see Fenlon’s men leapfrog Cork and finish second.
The home side are unbeaten in five league games, having grabbed three wins against Limerick, Galway and Bray, and two draws against Bray and Dundalk during that period of games.
Pat Fenlon will be looking to finish the season on a high and his chances will have been bolstered by the fact that no injuries or suspensions means that he has a full squad to choose from, including Drogheda-born brothers Ryan and Gavin Brennan, both of whom have played for Drogheda, with the latter captaining the Boynesiders last season.
Drogheda, on the other hand, are without a win since Mark Kinsella’s first game in charge, a 2-0 victory away to Derry at the start of Septemeber. Since then, Drogheda have lost three and drawn two.
Pete Mahon, who was assistant manager at the club this season, but left when Johnny McDonnell departed in August, returned to the club on Wednesday as first team manager due to Mark Kinsella’s 60-day interim term ending. Kinsella, however, is still assistant manager and will be the man in charge, with Mahon mainly there as a name on the teamsheet.
As it stands going into the last game of the season, Drogheda are currently sitting in the promotion/relegation play-off spot, just two points clear of Limerick who travel to Sligo on Friday evening. If Drogheda are to avoid automatic relegation to the First Division, they must match or better the Limerick result.
Speaking to the droghedaunited.ie in the build up to this game, Kinsella said that his side know that it is now in their own hands and that they will be setting up to win the game and therefore not have to rely on Sligo getting a result against Limerick.
“It’s still down to what kind of result we can produce on Friday. It won’t be an easy game for Limerick having to go to the Showgrounds to face Sligo Rovers after their win last week against St Pat’s. We will be set up looking to win in Tallaght as anything else leaves us relying on others.”
Kinsella also mentioned that the games between Drogheda and the top sides in the league, other than the 6-0 defeat to Dundalk, have all been close, normally decided by a one-goal margin.
“The games between ourselves and the top sides this season have been very close, Dundalk aside, and if we can deal with the pressure and cut out the silly mistakes then anything is possible. We need to be positive.”
Pete Mahon also spoke to the club website regarding his return to the club, and told of how he was asked to help the club.
“I wish it was under better circumstances but I’m very happy to be back. Mark rang me on Tuesday to ask if I could help himself and the club out and I was more than happy to do so.”
Mahon also pointed out how close the games between Drogheda and Rovers have been this season and admitted it will be tough again on Friday night.
“It’s going to be a tough ask tomorrow night but we need to do two things and that’s to play well and keep 11 men on the pitch,” he told droghedaunited.ie.
In team news, Drogheda have no fresh injury worries but Joe Gorman misses out through suspension following his early red card in the 3-0 defeat to Longford last week.
Suspended: Joe Gorman.
Last Two Meetings
League, 31 July 2015: Drogheda United 0-1 Shamrock Rovers.
League, 1 May 2015: Shamrock Rovers 1-0 Drogheda United.
Shamrock Rovers 2/5, Draw 18/5, Drogheda United 13/2.
Tallaght Stadium, 7:45pm.
Gerard Grimes, Pundit Arena