Shamrock Rovers host league leaders Dundalk in what promises to be a mouth-watering tie as both teams will be hoping to dent their rivals quest in winning the league title come October.
Stephen Kenny returns to the club who he briefly managed in 2012, before being abruptly sacked for poor results as the Hoops struggled in transition without former boss Michael O’Neill.
Rovers are off the back of a scoreless draw up in The Brandywell and will be without influential midfielder Keith Fahey, as the former Ireland international received two yellow cards last Friday; one for kicking out and one for simulation in the dying moments of the game. Stephen McPhail, Maxine Blanchard and Gary McCabe will all be vying for that elusive spot in Pat Fenlon’s midfield.
Both teams remain unbeaten this season and boast a very impressive defensive record as the champions have only conceded one goal, while the hosts have only conceded one goal, the latter coming from a free kick against Sligo Rovers. Rovers will now have played the top 3 from last season all at home after just 8 games. In the reverse fixture last season, Dundalk came away with the spoils thanks to a solitary goal from former white Pat Hoban.
Dundalk go into the weekend on top of the table after a last gasp victory over Drogheda United last weekend in the Louth Derby thanks to a Richie Towell strike which has maintained the Lilywhites impressive start to the season.
Jake Kelly has been declared fit this week by Kenny, and former Tallaght favourite Stephen O’Donnell is pushing for a first start this season as he battles to overcome his injury difficulties. Ronan Finn also will play his first game against Rovers who he played for four seasons in the heart of their midfield.
Boss Kenny is aiming to play open football and go to Tallaght and get all 3 points; “It’s another game this week for us and we’re looking forward to it. Our performances have been good so far this season and the players have been brilliant. It doesn’t matter to us whether the match is home or away. It’s irrelevant.”
“We will approach the game the same we and go into it as we do every other. We will be approaching the game in a positive manner and going out to try win the game.”
Venue: Tallaght Stadium, 17/04/2015, 20:00
Injuries/Suspensions: Keith Fahey (suspended)
Pundit Arena Prediction: Shamrock Rovers 1-1 Dundalk
Betting Odds (Paddypower): Shamrock Rovers 15/8 Draw 21/10 Dundalk 6/4