Shamrock Rovers will be hot favourites to make it two out of two when the champions play host to Monaghan United in the Airtricity League Premier Division at Tallaght Stadium tonight (8pm kick off, all other games 7.45pm).
Two Gary Twigg goals were enough for Rovers to edge out Drogheda United last week, while Monaghan Town opened their account with a creditable scoreless draw at home to Dundalk.
However, Roddy Collins’ promoted side are bound to have their work cut out in the first ever competitive tie between the two clubs in Tallaght. And there won’t be any complacency on the part of the home side, according to manager Stephen Kenny.
“Every single victory this season will be hard fought,” he says. “I think the idea that you might have easy games is naïve. We can’t drop our standards for anyone or we will get turned over, the same as it is for any team. This is our first home game of the season, and we will be looking for a win from that.”
Ciarán Kilduff (broken metatarsal), Conor McCormack (ankle ligament) and Conor Winn (back) have all been ruled out of the game through injury. But Killian Brennan returns to the Hoops’ squad having missed Monday’s Setanta Cup victory over Cliftonville through suspension.
Injury wise, the opening night draw with Dundalk was costly for Monaghan as Rob Bayly, Aidan Collins and Gareth O Connor all picked up knocks and — along with Shaun Maher — are doubtful for tonight’s trip to Tallaght. On the positive side, Keith Quinn makes a return for Roddy Collins’ side.
For their first Premier League game at Turner’s Cross since 2009, against Drogheda United, Cork City will be hoping for a much improved performance on last week’s 1-0 loss to UCD at the Belfield Bowl.
City manager Tommy Dunne said: “With our first home game tonight, I hope that we will respond and get our season up and running. It will be a very tough game for us, but we will be positive and go out to play, and I think we just need to make sure that we are a bit more diligent and a bit more aggressive at both ends of the pitch.”
Injuries remain a concern for Dunne ahead of the tie. Stephen Mulcahy, Kevin Murray and Neal Horgan all remain sidelined with knee injuries, though Daryl Horgan will be back after missing last week’s game with flu. Davin O’Neill is still doubtful with the same complaint, though Dunne remains hopeful he will be fit. Colin Healy (knee) and Tadhg Purcell (groin) could also miss out.
For Drogheda, Paul Crowley remains out while Declan O’Brien is a doubt. Tiarnan Mulvenna played last week despite injury and is expected to be in the squad. Eric Foley is still suspended while Ryan and Darren Brennan are once again available after serving their suspensions.
Elsewhere in the Premier Division this evening, Bohemians host Shelbourne, Bray Wanderers welcome Derry City and Dundalk entertain St Patrick’s Athletic. In the First Division, SD Galway are at home to Wexford Youths and Waterford United face Limerick at the RSC.
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