Shelbourne ended Drogheda’s unbeaten run in the league last week but manager Paul Doolin says he has no cause for complaint.
“The lads have been brilliant,” he says. “For the first 45 minutes against Shels we were outplayed but we were more like ourselves in the second-half. I also think that it was probably the best Shels have played all season. If we only have the odd bad spell in the course of the campaign I’ll have no cause for complaint. And it was good to get back to business as usual with the League Cup win over Dundalk.”
Drogheda will be without striker Declan O’Brien and midfielder Stephen Bradley for the trip to Sligo, both players struggling with hamstring strains. But Shane Barrett is available and Doolin hopes Paul Keegan will have recovered from the effects of his long trip to Azerbaijan with the Irish U-21s.
Sligo go into the game after losing back to back matches in the league and League Cup and manager Sean Connor sees the visit of Drogheda as a real test of character.
“I’ll be honest with you, the players are down, feeling sorry for themselves – they’re wounded. I’m the opposite,” he said. “We’ve had a bad spell yes, but I still believe we are capable of finishing in the top five.
“Drogheda are the best team in Ireland at the moment. They’re ‘All-Ireland’ champions, have only conceded a couple of league goals, have a fantastic back four, a couple of U-21 internationals and a great shape about them.
“But the pressure will be on them. Everyone expects them to win. From our perspective, we want to see how far off the likes of Drogheda, Cork, Derry and Shels we are. This game is an opportunity to gauge that once again in the Showgrounds.”
*South Africa will play Poland in the Brian Kerr Inter-Continental Winter League Final at Dalymount Park tomorrow at 3pm.
Organised by Sport Against Racism in Ireland (SARI), the competition saw the Irish-based representatives of 16 countries compete over the past five months, and the final — for which admission is free — promises to be a gala event.
Half-time will see a parade of 320 multi-national players, representing the 32 teams who will contest the SARI 7-A-Side World Cup, an event which will take place at the AUL grounds on Saturday May 27 and Sunday 28.