Maher, Thiam Iyane out for Drogheda

The first televised game of the season takes place in United Park on Saturday when Shamrock Rovers travel to take on champions Drogheda United, kick-off 5.30pm.

The first televised game of the season takes place in United Park on Saturday when Shamrock Rovers travel to take on champions Drogheda United, kick-off 5.30pm.

Drogheda's close season signings Sean Maher and Ibrahima Thiam Iyane have given the squad strength and quality in depth and cover in every position.

Shane Barrett has fully recovered from last year's serious injury but pulled his hamstring in training, so he's out for a week.

Jason Gavin has a medial ligament strain and is out of contention as is Shaun Maher with an Achilles tendon problem.

Captain Declan ‘Fabio' O’Brien is approaching full fitness, while Dan Connor is unavailable, but in Miko Vilmunen and Jamie Ewings, United have two very capable keepers.

Apart from long-term injuries to Aidan Price and Padraig Amond, Rovers will have a full-strength squad available for the trip to Drogheda.

"It’s a huge improvement on last season," said Hoops boss Pat Scully.

"It’ll be a while before Aidan and Padraig are back, but otherwise we’re fine.

"Dessie Baker and Dave Tyrrell both have slight knocks but should be okay, and it looks as though Tadhg Purcell will be available even though he didn’t play pre-season.

"Tadhg started back training three weeks ago, we’ve been very careful with him, and he looks really sharp this week and should feature in the squad for the Drogheda game."

He added: "This is a great game for us. There’ll be a full house, the game is live on RTÉ, the atmosphere will be intense. We always bring a big crowd and they’ll make plenty of noise.

"I like going to United Park. I know Drogheda are planning to move to a new stadium in the next couple of years but I like the atmosphere there, it’s nice and compact."

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