O’Neill’s Hoops out to topple Pats in derby

IT’S first versus second at the top of the Airtricity League tonight (kick-off 8pm) as Saint Patrick’s Athletic visit Shamrock Rovers for another six-pointer Dublin derby.

Pats might hold a two-point advantage going into the game but Rovers boss Michael O’Neill is hoping for a bit of role-reversal come the final whistle.

“This is a chance for us to go top of the league,” he said, “and we’ll be doing our utmost to be there at the end of the 90 minutes.”

Dessie Baker (achilles) is the only doubt for the Hoops who go into tonight’s clash on the back of a 2-1 victory away to Sligo.

“It was a good win for us, which I thought was well deserved,” said O’Neill. “We had the better of the chances. I know people will look at the sending off (of Sligo’s Gavin Peers) as a factor in the win, but we had better chances and took them to get the three points, and we were delighted with that.”

But leaders Pats should provide a particularly tough challenge following their 4-2 win at home to Galway on Friday in which Derek Doyle took the honours with a hat-trick.

O’Neill added: “Pat’s have done excellent so far this season. But we went to Inchicore earlier in the season and got an impressive win. They also won in Tallaght, so the away team has had the upper hand so far this season, but we’ll be looking to change that tonight.”

In what has already become a tightly contested and often topsy turvy title race, only five points separate the top four, with third-placed Bohemians away to UCD tonight (7.45pm) and Sporting Fingal, in fourth, welcoming Sligo to Morton Stadium (7.45pm).

Elsewhere, Dundalk take on Drogheda in the Louth derby at Oriel Park (7.45pm) and Galway United host Bray Wanderers at Terryland Park (7.45pm).


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