Shamrock Rovers ready to test Bray’s title credentials

Last week they beat champions Dundalk and next week they face leaders Cork. But, this evening, Bray Wanderers will be hoping to keep their early title ambitions on course as they host Shamrock Rovers at the Carlisle Grounds.

Currently joint second on points with the Lilywhites, Wanderers have already scored 20 goals in the league this season, second only to Cork on 23, with Gary McCabe — who comes up against his former club tonight — the leading scorer in the league with nine. 

“We put up an excellent display against the champions Dundalk last Friday night,” says Bray manager Harry Kenny.

“To come away with three points and to score three goals was very pleasing, considering we were missing three key players from our defence. That win keeps us up at the right end of the table and we now look forward to Shamrock Rovers coming to the Carlisle.”

Four wins and five defeats in the league underlines Shamrock Rovers’ inconsistency but back to back victories over Sligo and Bohemians — the latter in the EA Sports Cup — have raised confidence ahead of the trip to Bray and a meeting with ex-Hoop McCabe. 

“They’re obviously doing really well this year,” says Rovers head coach Stephen Bradley. 

“Gary McCabe is doing well, he’s scoring goals and he’s dangerous if you give him time around the box. It’s going to be a tough game but we’re going into it on the back of two good results. It has all the makings of a good game.”

Dundalk will be looking to the visit to Oriel Park of Bohemians — beaten 0-2 by Cork last week — as a chance to put a controversial 3-1 defeat against Bray to bed. 

“We are all very disappointed with the result last week,” says defender Sean Hoare. “We felt that we didn’t deserve to lose against Bray. We need to get back to winning ways in the league.”

In tonight’s other Premier Division games, Limerick host Galway United at the Markets Field and Finn Harps welcome Drogheda United to Finn Park (8pm), while in the First Division, it’s Athlone Town v Wexford, Cabinteely v Waterford and Shelbourne v UCD. All games 7.45pm unless stated.

Meanwhile, Cabinteely have announced an historic friendly against the New Zealand national team at Stradbrook on June 6 as part of ‘Cabo’s’ Golden Jubilee celebrations. 

The club will also host ‘An Evening With Martin O’Neill’ at the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire on Wednesday May 28.

In preparation for the Fifa Confederations Cup, New Zealand also play Northern Ireland in Belfast on June 2.

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