It’s the biggest Dublin derby of them all — but not as we know it.
Ahead of tonight’s Airtricity League Premier Division game in Tallaght against champions Shamrock Rovers, Bohemians manager Aaron Callaghan neatly summed up the changed circumstances for both clubs: “This is a David v Goliath battle. It used to be David v David. Look at their five strikers to our three. Each of them is on three times the pay of our highest paid and they have all won honours in the league.”
Bottom of the table Bohs picked up their first league point last Sunday with a scoreless draw against St Patrick’s Athletic but the struggling Gypsies are still in search of their first goal.
No surprise then that leaders Rovers are odds-on favourites to maintain their unbeaten run this evening, having overwhelmed Shelbourne in another Dublin derby last time out. But manager Stephen Kenny is anything but complacent going into a game against the Hoops’ traditional arch-rivals.
“Derby games are always a test,” he said.
“There usually isn’t much in them and they are often decided by just one goal. We will take confidence from our 4-0 win over Shelbourne last week, but we don’t underestimate anyone in this league, especially not in a derby game.”
Like Bohs, Cork City are still seeking their first victory of the league campaign but go into tonight’s match at Turner’s Cross against Bray Wanderers boosted by a resounding 5-1 defeat of Wexford Youths in the EA Sports Cup recently.
“It is still early in the season, and nothing is decided at this point, but we want to get that first win under our belts,” said City boss Tommy Dunne.
“We want to win every game we play, particularly our home games, so in that sense, this week is no different to any other. We will be positive and look to build on the performance of Monday night.”
For the visitors, Bray’s Director of Coaching Pat Devlin is hoping his side bounce back from last week’s 2-4 home defeat to Drogheda United.
“It’s great that Cork are back in the Premier Division,” he said. “Turner’s Cross is a great place to go to play football and let’s hope the lads will respond after the disappointment of last week.”
Derry City were 2-0 victors over Cork last week, a game in which Mark Farren scored his 109th goal for the club, leaving him just three short of Liam Coyle’s record 112.
Tonight, third-placed Derry travel to Hunky Dory’s Park to take on Drogheda United in fifth, and the home side’s manager Mick Cooke stated: “I think Derry City are going to push Shamrock Rovers all the way this season and it’s going to be a tough match tonight.”
In the night’s other Dublin derby, sixth-placed Shelbourne are at home to St Patrick’s Athletic in fourth while, in the bottom half of the table, UCD host Monaghan United at Belfield.
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