Preview: Shamrock Rovers vs. Dundalk – prediction, team news, lineups – Football News

Preview: Shamrock Rovers vs. Dundalk – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday’s League of Ireland Premier clash between Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Both aiming to return to winning ways in the League of Ireland Premier Division, Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk will do battle at Tallaght Stadium on Thursday.

Following back-to-back defeats, the hosts now sit fourth in the Irish top-flight table, 15 points off top spot in their latest title defence, while their visitors find themselves six points adrift of safety in the relegation playoff place.

Match preview

After winning the League of Ireland Premier Division in each of the last four seasons, moving onto 21 in their history in the process, Shamrock Rovers find themselves in the midst of a particularly disappointing campaign by their own standards in their latest defence, currently sitting fourth after 22 outings.

In those matches, the Hoops have managed just 31 points, having only picked up eight wins alongside seven defeats, already topping any of their last four title-winning campaigns, with five of those losses coming in their last eight attempts.

Following a four-game winless streak in May, Stephen Bradley‘s side did produce important victories over second-placed Derry City and strugglers Drogheda United, either side of a 2-0 loss at home to league leaders Shelbourne, but they have fallen further off the pace of the frontrunners since, leaving empty-handed from both of their outings in June having firstly thrown a 1-0 lead away against St Patrick’s Athletic.

Ruairi Keating levelled the scores in the 76th minute for their hosts and Brandon Kavanagh notched a winner deep into injury time, before the Hoops most recently visited Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds and succumbed to a 2-0 loss with Simon Power netting both of their opponents’ goals in the final 20 minutes.

As a result of their dismal run in recent months, Shamrock Rovers now trail third-placed Waterford by two points, second-placed Derry City by 13 and leaders Shelbourne by 15 with just 14 games remaining, and with any hopes of retaining the title all but gone, they will be desperate to kickstart an improved end to the campaign to crack the top three again.

Their visitors, meanwhile, will also set out to bounce back on Thursday, having suffered a setback of their own last time out in their climb towards safety in the Irish top flight.

Dundalk have found themselves in the bottom two of the League of Ireland Premier Division for almost the entirety of the campaign thus far, having began with an 11-match winless streak which produced just five points, before a first triumph was followed by another rut until mid-May, leaving them well adrift of safety.

Then heading into June with 13 points and two victories on the board from 18 outings, the Lilywhites do appear to have shown signs of improvement in recent weeks under the new management of Jon Daly, going on to pick up crucial 3-2 and 1-0 triumphs over St Patrick’s Athletic and Sligo Rovers respectively either side of a 1-0 defeat to league leaders Shelbourne.

Waterford then visited Oriel Park on Thursday, and Daly’s men failed to continue their climb with a second straight win, instead succumbing to a 2-0 home loss following first-half goals from Connor Parsons and Dean McMenamy.

That setback saw Dundalk remain in the relegation playoff place after 22 outings, but with a degree of renewed optimism having moved off the foot of the division, they will be keen to rebound and narrow the six-point gap up to automatic safety on Thursday.

Shamrock Rovers League of Ireland Premier form:

Dundalk League of Ireland Premier form:

Team News

Stephen Bradley may opt to make several changes to his Shamrock Rovers starting XI on Thursday after their latest defeat last time out, with Aaron Greene likely to come back in and lead the line from the outset having notched up eight goals so far this term.

He will hope to rejoin Celtic loanee Johnny Kenny, who leads their scoring charts with nine in 19 League of Ireland Premier Division appearances, while Graham Burke should continue in a supporting role in their 3-4-1-2 setup.

If defender Dan Cleary remains sidelined by an injury, Darragh Nugent should again deputise alongside Roberto Lopes and Josh Honohan in a back three, while Aaron McEneff will fight to come into the midfield from the outset after Dylan Watts and Gary O’Neill were preferred against Sligo Rovers.

Dundalk are set to remain without Scottish forward Jamie Gullan, who has missed their last two games through injury after netting a team-high tally of five goals in his first 20 league appearances of the season.

In his absence, 18-year-old Eoin Kenny led the line against Waterford last time out, but Cameron Elliott will fight to earn a starting spot back up top with Robbie Benson again set to support whichever lone striker is preferred.

Daryl Horgan and Ryan O’Kane will offer further threat on the wings, while John Mountney will hope to again join Paul Doyle in the midfield.

Shamrock Rovers possible starting lineup:
Pohls; Nugent, Lopes, Honohan; Towell, McEneff, Watts, Poom; Burke; Kenny, Greene

Dundalk possible starting lineup:
Munro; Davies, Johnson, Muller, Keogh; Horgan, Mountney, Doyle, O’Kane; Benson; Elliott

SM words green background

We say: Shamrock Rovers 2-1 Dundalk

Shamrock Rovers are certainly far from their best in the Irish top flight this season, and they meet a rejuvenated Dundalk team moving towards safety, but the Hoops do still boast more quality than their visitors, and we see Bradley’s men having enough to come out on top.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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