Stat attack v Drogheda Utd.
Shamrock Rovers are fourth in the Premier Division table on 17 points, three behind the leaders Cork City. Drogheda United are below Rovers on 12 points. The Boynesiders have conceded 16 goals – only UCD and Athlone Town have conceded more – 10 of them at home. Rovers are without a win in their last four away games in all competitions.
Rovers have conceded in their last six away league games, their worst run since 10 from 2011 to 2012. That came to a total of 13 games discounting Monaghan. After going unbeaten in the first five league games this season, Drogheda have lost their last three, losing 4-0 to St. Patrick’s Athletic on Monday which was their worst home defeat since they were beaten 4-0 by Rovers in April 2011.
Ciaran Kilduff scored on his full league debut for the club that day. Rovers have won their last five meetings with Drogheda, with nine consecutive wins at Hunky Dorys Park, and the Hoops have not lost to Drogheda in the league for seven years.
These two sides will meet again here in the League Cup second round on May 5th. Rovers ran out 5-1 winners when they met in the Leinster Senior Cup in February, where Drogheda became the only team to play Rovers in five different competitions at Tallaght Stadium.
Both managers have played for these clubs with Trevor Croly making his League of Ireland debut for Drogheda in 1992 and joining Rovers over a decade ago. Robbie Horgan made his first appearance for Rovers in 1987 and after four years with the County Louth club he returned to the Hoops (1994-2003). Gary O’Neill spent two seasons with Rovers and Stephen Maher had a brief loan spell (2007).
Paul Crowley started his career with Rovers in the 1997-98 season. Ryan Brennan, Conor Kenna, Shane Robinson and Eamon Zayed are former Drogs. Ciaran Kilduff and Gary McCabe have five goals for Rovers so far this season. Ronan Finn, who provided the most assists last year (7), chipped in with his first assist of 2014 against Dundalk. McCabe has scored or assisted 10 of Rovers’ 26 goals.
Rovers no longer have any ever-present players in all competitions. Ryan Brennan missed a league game for the first time against Dundalk and because of Conor Kenna and Luke Byrne’s suspensions that leaves Barry Murphy, Jason McGuinness, Gary McCabe, Ronan Finn and Ciaran Kilduff as the players who have appeared in every Premier Division match so far.
Gary McCabe has played in 16 consecutive league games; Derek Foran played 17 in a row and Ronan Finn played in 19 straight league matches under Trevor Croly last season. McCabe has been in every league match day squad since Croly’s appointment as manager, not missing from either the starting line up or the bench since he served a suspension against Derry City on 13 October 2012.
34-year-old Drogheda striker Declan O’Brien is the league’s top scorer on 7 goals. His hat-trick against Athlone Town was his first in league football since a spell in Malta when he hit four goals for Valletta against Dingli Swallows in February 2010.
O’Brien’s teammate Gary O’Neill was named the SSE Airtricity/Soccer Writers’ Association of Ireland Player of the Month for March. O’Neill has made a successful return to action following treatment for testicular cancer last year and he had never won such an award before.
It’s the 13th award won by a player from Drogheda/Drogheda United. A Shamrock Rovers player has won 35 times. Mick Leech was the very first man to take the award which began in September 1971 and no Hoops player has been selected since Gary Twigg in October 2012. Shane Robinson (August 1999) and Karl Sheppard (October 2011) have also scooped the prize with Rovers.
Shamrock Rovers are unbeaten in the league against Drogheda United since a 2-0 loss at Tolka Park in October 2007, and 21 games without defeat is a club record against any League of Ireland side. They went 19 unbeaten against both Bohs (1956-1965) and Sligo (1977-1987).
The Hoops have won on each of their last eight league visits to Hunky Dorys Park since 2009. Rovers beat a team away from home in eight consecutive league matches only twice before in history, against Jacobs (1924-1932) and St. James’s Gate (1928-1937). Incredibly, the run against the Gate ended when Rovers lost 7-0 at the Iveagh Grounds on 22 April 1937, their worst ever league defeat.
The current Drogheda streak is the best run of league wins in a particular stadium against all teams, home or away, since the eight straight victories at Tolka Park from 2006 to 2007 (which was ended by Drogheda) and nine would be the best since a nine match winning run at the RDS in the 1993-94 season.
Penalties and Yellow Cards
Shamrock Rovers have conceded a penalty in each of their last three league games, to St. Patrick’s Athletic, Dundalk and Bray Wanderers. Rovers have conceded 5 penalties in all competitions already this season which is the same number as last year. 7 spot kicks overall were awarded against the Hoops in 2013 but two were saved by Barry Murphy and Richard Brush.
The opposition have converted nine consecutive penalties without fail since Brush denied Evan McMillan from the spot at the Showgrounds last July. McMillan is the only opposing player to miss a penalty in a league game against Rovers in the past three years.
Bray on Monday was the first time that both Rovers and their opponents were awarded a penalty in a league game at Tallaght Stadium. In the 2009 FAI Cup, Stephen Bradley scored and missed one against Sporting Fingal, and Alan Kirby scored. In the 2011-12 Europa League against Rubin Kazan, both Stephen O’Donnell and Nelson Valdez missed from the spot.
Padraig Sutton is the referee for tonight’s match. Sutton has awarded a penalty in the last four Rovers games he has officiated – one this season and three last year – Gary McCabe scored against Bohemians at Dalymount Park and against Drogheda in the League Cup final at Tallaght Stadium, Ronan Finn missed against Bohs at Dalymount and Michael Rafter scored for Derry in Tallaght.
In 4 league games so far this season Sutton has handed out 26 yellow cards and 3 red cards. Dundalk was the second successive league game Rovers had a player sent off with Conor Kenna given his marching orders in the second half. Eamon Zayed was booked for the first time since joining the club. Rovers have picked up 24 yellow cards and 2 red cards in all competitions this season.
Ronan Finn is their most booked player (5) although Robert Bayly has also received five yellows including the First Division game with Shelbourne. Bray was the first game this season in which no Rovers players were booked, and the first time since a 3-1 win over Drogheda last September.
On his home league debut, Shamrock Rovers defender Sean Heaney won a penalty and scored the winner against Bray Wanderers. Heaney is the youngest player to make a league appearance for Rovers since Robbie Creevy who made his debut as a second half substitute in the 0-0 draw with Sligo at Tolka Park in October 2007. Creevy was 18 years and 64 days of age at the time.
Heaney is the youngest Hoops player to score in a league game since Barry O’Connor, in a 2-1 win over Galway United at Terryland Park in December 1989. O’Connor had been signed from Cherry Orchard by Noel King and he was 17 years and 169 days old when Connell beat Nolan in a race for possession and supplied a low centre which O’Connor drove to the net.
The youth international had scored his first goal for the club against UCD two months earlier. Harry Kenny was 16 years and 355 days old when he made his league debut in April 1979, while Richie Bayly starred in his first league appearance for the Hoops aged 16 years and 204 days in October 1978.
Dundalk 2-2 Shamrock Rovers
This was the first time since a 1-1 draw with Cork City in March 2012 that Shamrock Rovers scored a goal while reduced to ten men. Conor Powell was shown a straight red card in the 78th minute, and Gary Twigg headed in a 94th minute equaliser at Turner’s Cross. Rovers’ record with ten men under Trevor Croly is Played 10, Won 3, Drew 3, Lost 4.
Of the games they were leading at the time of the red card, they beat Shelbourne, St. Pat’s and Drogheda and drew with Dundalk. In three of the defeats, they were already behind, and in the remaining loss to Pat’s the Saints immediately took the lead with a penalty. This was only the second time that Rovers scored first and fail to win an away game under Croly – the other was a 1-1 draw against Limerick at Thomond Park in April 2013.
Rovers have not lost a league game having led at half-time since a 2-1 defeat to Sporting Fingal in October 2010. Rovers still haven’t lost a competitive game in which either Ciaran Kilduff or Ronan Finn have scored. In the seven league games that Eamon Zayed has started for Rovers their record is: Won 2, Drawn 3, Lost 2. Richie Towell has scored three penalties against Rovers now; only Jason Byrne has scored more since 2009 (four).
On this date
On 25 April 1965, Shamrock Rovers drew 1-1 with Limerick in the FAI Cup final. They won the replay 1-0. In 1971, a crowd in excess of 25,000 witnessed Rovers come unstuck in the play off game when they were beaten 3-1 by Cork Hibs at Dalymount Park. Mid way through the second half the teams were level at 1-1 but goals from Miah Dennehy and Tony Marsden gave Hibs the victory they needed to become league champions.
A dispute in the Rovers camp hours before the kick off ended only after the Cunninghams caved in and agreed to pay a win bonus but the affair did morale in the camp no good as the kick off approached. In 2002, Liam Buckley was appointed as Rovers manager. In 2009, Gary Twigg scored a brace for Rovers in their first ever game with St. Pat’s at Tallaght Stadium.
Shamrock Rovers goals
Ciaran Kilduff – 5
Gary McCabe – 5
Marty Waters – 3
Simon Madden – 2
Eamon Zayed – 2
Ronan Finn – 3
Ryan Brennan – 2
Conor Kenna – 1
Robert Bayly – 1
Stephen McPhail – 1
Sean Heaney – 1
Shamrock Rovers assists
Gary McCabe – 5
Ciaran Kilduff – 4
Ryan Brennan – 2
Simon Madden – 2
Robert Bayly – 1
Dean Kelly – 1
Marty Waters – 1
Shane Robinson – 1
Stephen McPhail – 1
Ronan Finn – 1
Shamrock Rovers Yellow Cards
5 – Ronan Finn
4 – Robert Bayly
4 – Shane Robinson
3 – Stephen McPhail
2 – Luke Byrne
1 – Conor Kenna
1 – Craig Hyland
1 – Gary McCabe
1 – Ciaran Kilduff
1 – Ryan Brennan
1 – Eamon Zayed
Shamrock Rovers Red Cards
1 – Luke Byrne
1 – Conor Kenna
Drogheda United IN
Philly Hughes (St. Patrick’s Ath)
Paul Crowley (Shelbourne)
Paul Andrews (Shelbourne)
Carl Walshe (Shelbourne)
Daire Doyle (Bray Wanderers)
Dave Ryan (Cork City)
Stephen Maher (St. Patrick’s Ath)
Drogheda United OUT
Philip Hand (Shelbourne)
Paul O’Conor (Sligo Rovers)
Peter Hynes (Longford Town)
Ryan Brennan (Shamrock Rovers)
Graham Rusk (Athlone Town)
Gabriel Sava (Dundalk)
Alan Byrne (Athlone Town)
Jason Marks (Athlone Town)
Derek Prendergast (Athlone Town)
Head to Head – Last Ten
02-Mar-12 - L - Drogheda United 1-2 Shamrock Rovers [Marshall; Twigg 2]
18-May-12 - L - Shamrock Rovers 3-1 Drogheda United [McCabe, Twigg 2; O’Brien]
17-Aug-12 - L - Drogheda United 0-2 Shamrock Rovers [Kilduff, Finn]
22-Sep-12 - LC - Shamrock Rovers 1-3 Drogheda United [Brennan; O’Brien, Gilbert (og), Foley]
05-Apr-13 - L - Shamrock Rovers 1-1 Drogheda United [Finn; O’Conor]
11-May-13 - SSC - Drogheda United 1-7 Shamrock Rovers [O’Neill; Chambers, O’Connor, Sheppard, Finn 2, Dennehy 2]
28-Jun-13 - L - Drogheda United 0-3 Shamrock Rovers [McCabe 2, O’Connor]
21-Sep-13 - LC - Shamrock Rovers 2-0 Drogheda United [McCabe (p), Stewart]
27-Sep-13 - L - Shamrock Rovers 3-1 Drogheda United [Stewart 2, McCabe; G. Brennan]
19-Feb-14 - LSC - Shamrock Rovers 5-1 Drogheda United [McCabe (p), Madden, Waters, Kenna, Kilduff; Walshe]
Shamrock Rovers 2014 results
Feb 19 - LSC - H - Drogheda Utd 5-1 [McCabe (p), Madden, Waters, Kenna, Kilduff]
Feb 24 - SC - H - Glentoran 5-1 [Bayly, Waters, McPhail, McCabe, Madden]
Mar 09 - L - H - Derry City 1-1 [Kilduff]
Mar 14 - L - A - Athlone Town 4-1 [Kilduff 2, McCabe, Zayed]
Mar 17 - SC - A - Glentoran 0-0
Mar 21 - L - A - Bohemians 3-1 [McCabe (p), Finn, Waters]
Mar 24 - SC - H - Dundalk 1-2 [Zayed]
Mar 28 - L - H - Sligo Rovers 1-0 [Brennan]
Apr 04 - L - A - Cork City 0-3
Apr 07 - L - H - UCD 2-0 [Finn, Brennan]
Apr 11 - L - A - St. Patrick’s Ath 0-1
Apr 15 - SC - A - Dundalk 0-1
Apr 18 - L - A - Dundalk 2-2 [Kilduff, Finn]
Apr 21 - L - H - Bray Wanderers 2-1 [McCabe (p), Heaney]
Drogheda United 2014 results
Feb 19 - LSC - A - Shamrock Rovers 1-5 [Walshe]
Mar 07 - L - H - Dundalk 4-1 [Foley, Brennan, O’Brien 2]
Mar 10 - LC - A - Crumlin Utd 3-1 [O’Neill, Doyle, Andrews] AET
Mar 14 - L - A - Bohemians 2-2 [O’Neill 2]
Mar 21 - L - H - Derry City 1-1 [Daly]
Mar 28 - L - A - Limerick 1-0 [O’Brien]
Apr 04 - L - H - Athlone Town 3-2 [O’Brien 3]
Apr 07 - L - A - Sligo Rovers 1-1 [O’Brien]
Apr 11 - L - H - Bray Wanderers 0-2
Apr 18 - L - A - Cork City 1-3 [Walshe]
Apr 21 - L - H - St. Patrick’s Ath 0-4
Rovers’ best league unbeaten runs against a club
21 – Drogheda United – 2008 to 2013
19 – Bohemians – 1956 to 1965
19 – Sligo Rovers – 1977 to 1987
18 – Galway United – 2007 to 2011
16 – Sligo Rovers – 1955 to 1964
16 – UCD – 2003 to 2010
16 – Dundalk – 1997 to 2009
Rovers’ most consecutive away league wins against a club
8 – Jacobs – Rutland Avenue – 1924 to 1932
8 – St. James’s Gate – Iveagh Grounds/Dalymount Park – 1928 to 1937
8 – Drogheda United – Hunky Dorys Park – 2009 to 2013
7 – Home Farm – Tolka Park – 1981 to 1987
7 – Bohemians – Dalymount Park – 1963 to 1970
Rovers goals with ten men 2009 - 2014
Bohemians (H) 3-0 in August 2010, Pat Flynn sent off, Gary Twigg and Billy Dennehy scored
Bohemians (A) 1-1 in April 2011, Gary McCabe sent off, Ronan Finn scored
Sligo Rovers (H) 1-2 in September 2011, Pat Sullivan sent off, Gary Twigg scored
UCD (A) 2-1 in October 2011, Craig Sives sent off, Ken Oman and Dean Kelly scored
Cork City (A) 1-1 in March 2012, Conor Powell sent off, Gary Twigg scored
Dundalk (A) 2-2 in April 2014, Conor Kenna sent off, Ronan Finn scored
Rovers Player of the Month Winners
2012 – March: Gary Twigg. October: Gary Twigg.
2011 – July: Conor McCormack. August: Pat Sullivan. October: Karl Sheppard.
2010 – August: Aidan Price.
2009 – April: Gary Twigg. September: Gary Twigg.
2007 – May: Tadhg Purcell.
2004 – May: Trevor Molloy.
2003 – June: Tony Grant.
2001/02 – January: Billy Woods.
1999/2000 – August: Shane Robinson.
1997/98 – Matt Britton.
1996/97 – February: Tony Cousins.
1993/94 – October: Stephen Geoghegan. November: Alan Byrne. March: Eoin Mullen.
1990/91 – January: Dave Connell.
1987/88 – November: Mick Neville.
1986/87 – September: Pat Byrne. March: Mick Byrne. April: Noel Larkin.
1984/85 – October: Jacko McDonagh.
1983/84 – November: Pat Byrne. January: Alan Campbell. April: Jacko McDonagh.
1981/82 – December: Liam Buckley. January: Jim Beglin.
1979/80 – December: Alan Campbell.
1977/78 – March: Johnny Giles.
1974/75 – September: Donal Murphy.
1973/74 – December: Donal Murphy.
1971/72 – September: Mick Leech.