On Friday, two of Ireland’s biggest sides meet when Shamrock Rovers travel to Richmond Park to face St. Patrick’s Athletic.
‘Ireland’s Number One’, Shamrock Rovers, make the trip for what they hope can be a rewarding encounter. On the back of this season’s efforts, Shamrock Rovers will feel that they are favourites for the encounter.
Following on from a disappointing season last year, the Hoops have been performing to a high standard. With the fight on for Europe, Rovers fans have begun to envisage what may be and have raised their hopes for the rest of the season.
On the other hand, the Saints have also recently improved their form. The Saints come into the game on an impressive winning streak with a cup semi – final on the way. Both sides, with their huge rivalry intact, will be hungry for a victory.
On the back of their recent form, Shamrock Rovers and the Saints will be considered the heavy hitters in this encounter by their respective followers. However, with the Saints having had the better year so far, the Hoops come to Richmond Park on the back of both a 2-1 victory and a 3-2 defeat to Dundalk.
It is worth noting that recently the Saints have also beaten Dundalk. In beating the Louth side, the Hoops could not have claimed a bigger scalp, with Dundalk the current league leaders.
The hosts, come into this game on the back of a 4-2 victory over Bray Wanderers. The Bray game, had been a major surprise to the Saints and their fans, as after 10 minutes the Saints found themselves both a man and a goal down after Ken Oman’s foolish tackle led to an early dismissal for himself. However, the ‘Luas Classico’ is an important fixture as Rovers are still chasing Europe, whilst Pats will be aiming to further enhance their position.
In relation to the team news, both sides have near full sides to choose from. Ken Oman, following his red card, will not be taking part this weekend. Saints fans will be left waiting to determine the fitness of Derek Foran and Kenny Browne, as they take late tests.. Shamrock Rovers, have no major worries, with their side expected to be at full strength.
Recent form is a big factor in football, however in the LOI teams tend to have trends against their opposition, especially through rivalry. Saints and Rovers provide at least one high-scoring game per season and after the previous encounter, it points to this one being a goalfest.
However, I feel it will be a tight encounter. The Saints are extremely strong in midfield and this will allow them to control the tempo.
Prediction: Pats to prevail in a 2-1 scoreline. However, I fancy them to go behind and come back with Christy Fagan bringing himself closer to the coveted ‘most goals in a season’ record. Ronan Finn is my choice to bag the Rovers goal.
St. Patrick’s Athletic 2-1 Shamrock Rovers. Saints to fall behind early but emerge victorious.
Betting (PP): St. Patrick’s Athletic 11/10, Draw 23/10, Shamrock Rovers 23/10