With controlled numbers of spectators returning to games tonight as part of the Government’s trial events, Shamrock Rovers’ manager Stephen Bradley hopes it’s the light at the end of what’s been a long tunnel.
Rovers welcome 1,000 Hoops faithful to Tallaght for their clash with Finn Harps. Other grounds, with lesser capacities, can also admit fans, but with limits of only around 100.
The last Premier Division game with fans present was the champions’ 1-1 draw away to current league leaders Sligo Rovers on March 7, 2020, with an official attendance of 2,385.
“We’re really looking forward to it. It’s great,” said Bradley ahead of the return of supporters. “It’s going to be a bit strange; a bit surreal at the start to hear the fans, to see them coming in. But it’s fantastic and I can’t wait.
“It’s not real football without the fans, that energy and passion that they bring.”
After a first win in four games last time out at Longford Town, second-placed Rovers continue without injured skipper Ronan Finn, Joey O’Brien, Dylan Watts, Sean Kavanagh, and Neil Farrugia, the latter facing up to three months out having had surgery on a hamstring issue.
Harps’ manager Ollie Horgan awaits fitness checks on defenders Johnny Dunleavy and Stephen Folan.
In this evening’s other games, Derry City host in-form Bohemians while Waterford travel to Dundalk.
Meanwhile, Sligo midfielder Greg Bolger was named SSE Airtricity/Soccer Writers Ireland Player of the Month for May.
Friday's fixtures (7.45 unless stated: Premier Division: Derry City v Bohemians; Dundalk v Waterford; Shamrock Rovers v Finn Harps (8.0)