Monday night previews

4th March 2024

It's a big night of action in the SSE Airtricity Men's Premier Division

The first round of Monday matches in the SSE Airtricity Men's Premier Division brings opportunities for the sides who missed out playing last Friday night, including champions Shamrock Rovers taking on likely title rival Derry City.

Two matches were postponed due to snow, meaning four teams will not play a double-header.

While it may be preferable to play matches at this stage of the year, it may be a factor going into games this evening.

The highlight of the round is last season's top two facing off in Tallaght which is live on Virgin Media Three television.

Derry City gave the first sign they are ready to mount another challenge when coming from behind to win last Friday.

With Stephen Bradley's side looking for a first win of year in the league, it's a good time to renew the rivalry between the teams.

Bradley said: "It will be another difficult game. They've been a good team; they've invested heavily in the last two years in their group and when you sign someone like Patrick Hoban you obviously bring goals to the team, so we know it's going to be a difficult game, but I feel we're in a good place. You look at the last hour of last week, we know what we need to improve on, but if we bring that standard into the game, I think we'll be fine.

"We wanted to play the game, there's no doubt about that. This team is at its best when it’s playing games regularly so we wanted to play. But nobody could do anything, the weather’s the weather."

Seán Hoare, Jack Byrne and Trevor Clarke remain out but should return early this month.

Aaron McEneff, Seán Kavanagh and Neil Farrugia face longer on the sidelines. Farrugia has had shoulder surgery and face "a few weeks" out according to Bradley.

Derry City boss Ruaidhri Higgins feels his players can take the impact of their late victory last week to Dublin.

He said: "Obviously Shamrock Rovers are going to be fresh with their game against Drogheda United having been called off, but listen, we’ve played Friday, Monday, Friday for a long time now, so it’s nothing that the players aren’t used to.

"Hopefully the momentum gathered from Friday night will stand us in good stead going into this one.

"Rovers were excellent from probably the 30-minute mark on in their game against Shels, and I think we all know by this stage the threat that they pose, and we’ll have to be prepared for that.

"They’ve obviously got plenty of talent in their squad, but so do we, and I’m sure it will be an exciting game."

Sadou Diallo, Patrick McEleney and Cameron Dummigan remain out for City.

Damien Duff's Shelbourne are looking to make it three wins on the spin, as are Galway United after Shelbourne backed up their win over the champions by taking all three points in Sligo.

They welcome another high-flying side, Galway United, to Tolka Park after they also recorded successive victories by dispatching Waterford.

The start by Caulfield's men is certainly a surprise, but many felt Shels could kick on having reached the top four last year.

Damien Duff was not pleased with his team's display in The Showgrounds and wants to see an improvement.

Galway assistant Ollie Horgan feels United will be physically set for the challenge of Shels

"It's a massive game in Tolka Park on Monday," Horgan stated.

"The players were in Saturday and Sunday recovering as we move onto the next game, we’re looking forward to it."

Dundalk were another side forced to sit out last Friday and will be chomping at the bit as Sligo Rovers visit Oriel Park.

Having suffered a surprise defeat to Galway United last week, the Lilywhites were keen to get back on the pitch last Friday.

With 11 new players in their squad, minutes on the pitch are valuable for the Lilywhites.

Sligo were disappointed to create little in a 1-0 loss to Shels on Friday night.

Dundalk boss Stephen O'Donnell is happy for the chance to get back to action: "The players had built all week for the Bohemians game so when it was called off it was a bit of a damp squib but we've followed the preparation on for the last couple of days and we’re looking forward to Monday night.

"It would have been more of a disappointment if we had to go through another full week of preparation but it’s only been an extra two days which is good.

"Sligo picked up two good points in their opening two games against Bohs and Derry and even though they lost against Shelbourne on Friday night, they had a lot of possession.

"They have good footballers all over the park and they are a threat so we will have to be on our mettle."

John Mountney is close to a full return after playing 90 minutes of an academy game on Saturday. All other players are available.

Bit O' Red manager John Russell is looking to the positives despite a first loss of the year three days ago.

"I've been very pleased with what the players have shown so far for such a new group. We have been very competitive in all the games and unlucky not to have more points on the board. We know we need to improve in the final third and I feel that will come.

"There is already a real connection between this team and the supporters. They can see the quality we possess as well as the effort and desire on display and they’ve really gotten behind us.

"We know the league is extremely competitive but we travel to Dundalk aiming for the three points on Monday night."

Sligo's JR Wilson is fit for the Bit O' Red having missed the chance to face his former club last Friday. John Mahon (Achilles) is the only player missing.

Waterford and St Patrick's Athletic will clash at what will be a sold out RSC at 7.45pm.

Both sides went 1-0 up on Friday night with victory in their sights, before conceding twice.

The Saints will be keen to avoid a third loss in success as they head south.

Connor Evans remains a doubt for Waterford after picking up a knock in training last week.

Manager Keith Long wants the Blues to be a bit more savvy after the loss in Galway.

"We've got to dust ourselves down and get ourselves ready and turn in a good performance on Monday night but we need to learn from Friday and be better in certain aspects of our game.

"Relish the grind, relish defending at times tonight we didn’t do that enough.

"I can’t fault the effort from the boys, the effort was great, we need to be a bit smarter, a bit cuter and maybe we can take a leaf from Galway's book in terms of the dark arts."

Bohemians will have no fans present when they go head to Louth to take on Drogheda United in Weavers Park.

The Gypsies have been punished by the FAI after flares were thrown on the pitch in their previous away match against St Patrick's Athletic.

Bohs manager Declan Devine is conscious of a different experience for his team: there is no denying that it is going to be strange for us going to a venue - one where we are so used to having such a vocal support behind us - and to not have that this time.

"That is going to have to be something we adjust to very quickly. It will be in the back of our minds that even though our fans cannot be there in person, we know that they will all be at home or meeting up in the pub to watch on LOITV.

"We want to go out and give another good performance and ensure that they enjoy their night wherever they are watching from. So all eyes will be on us again and we have to go out and perform. Drogheda is always a tough venue for any team, and we will have to be at our very best."

Paddy Kirk is a doubt with a knock. Keith Buckley (knee), Rob Cornwall (knee) and James McManus (foot) remain out.