Kevin Doherty’s Shelbourne will be looking for their first league win of the season as they host Pete Mahon’s Drogheda United, who remain unbeaten after their first three league games.
Shelbourne go into this game with just a point to their name following a defeat to Cobh Ramblers and a draw with Cabinteely. They have, however, played a game less than Drogheda after their match away to Athlone in gameweek two was called off due to floodlight failure at Athlone Town Stadium.
Kevin Doherty’s side did however, bounce back from that draw against Cabinteely by thrashing the same opponents 5-0 on Monday evening in the first round of the EA Sports Cup. A second round meeting against rivals Bohemians was set up by a goal eight minutes in from Gavin Boyne which was then followed by four second half goals through a brace from Sodiq Oguntola and one each for James English and Mark Sandford.
Speaking following the 5-0 win over Cabinteely, Doherty told Shelbourne website that he got what he wanted; a selection headache for the game against Drogheda.
“We created a lot of chances in the Cobh and Cabinteely games but failed to take them, but we took the majority of them tonight. Sodiq Oguntola scored , both James English and Mark Sandford came on and scored, Carl Walshe creating a lot of them, so at least I got what I wanted out of the game, – I wanted to have a selection headache for Saturday’s game.”
When asked about the game on Saturday evening against the Boyne-siders, Doherty told the club website that he expects a tough task against what will be a well organised opponent.
“That will be a tough one! They’re certainly going to be well organised, with some very good players, a couple of them having been with us before – young Aaron Ashe and Sean Brennan are both good players. I’m hoping that we can bring some of the momentum from Monday night’s game into the game with Drogheda”
In team news, Kevin Doherty has a full squad to choose from other than Aidan Collins who suffered a dislocated shoulder in the league game against Cabinteely last Friday.
As for the visitors, Drogheda United come into this one off the back of a 2-2 draw against Athlone Town last Friday which was followed by a penalty shootout defeat to LSL side Bluebell United in the first round of the EA Sports Cup.
Drogheda twice led against Athlone but a last minute strike from Marco Chindea earned the Westmeath outfit a share of the points. The disappointment of not coming away with all three points was made worse by the injury suffered by their captain Sean Thornton who now faces a number of weeks on the sideline.
A much changed Drogheda side then took to the field against Bluebell in the EA Sports Cup on Monday evening. The two sides couldn’t be separated after 120 minutes in what was a poor game of football and it was the LSL side who were the victors on penalties, winning 4-3 thanks to two saves from Andy McNulty.
Speaking about the draw to Athlone, manager Pete Mahon told Drogheda’s website that he was disappointed with the two points dropped and has urged his side to be more ruthless.
“It was very disappointing to only walk away with the draw. I thought our performance was only ok on the night. We played some good stuff and I never at any stage thought we’d lose the game. We’ve watched the game back on tape and we certainly had the chances to win but we need to be more ruthless.”
“I thought we had the three points when we took the lead in injury time but Athlone came back again and that result probably flattered them but we brought it on ourselves by not seeing the game out.”
Mahon also said that despite their slow start, he is expecting a real test at Tolka Park against a Shelbourne side that he believes will still be battling for promotion.
“It’s too early to look at the league table, it’ll only take shape at the end of the first round of fixtures but Limerick are already looking like a real force with their financial backing. I said at the start of the season that I thought it would be ourselves, Shelbourne and UCD battling it out for the promotion spots and I haven’t seen anything to change my opinion.”
“Shels may have had a slow start but they had a great result on Monday night against Cabninteely and I’m certain they’ll provide a real test on Saturday and hopefully we can come away with the three points.”
In team news, Drogheda will be without influential captain Sean Thornton who faces 4-6 weeks on the sidelines with an ankle injury while forwards Sam O’Connor and Liam Donnelly are unavailable through a hamstring injury and suspension respectively.
Injured: Aidan Collins (shoulder).
Injured: Sean Thornton (ankle), Sam O’Connor (hamstring).
Suspended: Liam Donnelly.
Last Two Meetings
EA Sports Cup, 10 March 2015: Drogheda United 0-1 Shelbourne.
League, 30 September 2013: Shelbourne 2-2 Drogheda United.
Shelbourne 6/5, Draw 12/5, Drogheda United 9/4.
Tolka Park, 7pm.
Gerard Grimes, Pundit Arena.