League Preview: Shamrock Rovers -v- Drogheda United

Hoops boss Stephen Bradley

Hoops boss Stephen Bradley Credit: Conor Ryan (ETPhotos)


Shamrock Rovers will be looking to get their first three points on the board when they play host to Drogheda United at Tallaght Stadium on Friday night. (kick-off 8pm).

They have made a slow start to the season picking up only a single point in their first two outings, a 1-1 draw at home to Dundalk in the opening game of the season.

Manager Stephen Bradley is unlikely to be too perturbed by the sluggish start as it mirrors their start to the 2023 season.

12 months ago, they had to wait for their seventh game of the season before registering a win – we all know how their season finished however, claiming their fourth title in a row with seven points to spare over Derry City.

The 2-1 defeat to Shelbourne last weekend did hit a nerve with Bradley nonetheless, and he was not slow about apportioning blame for the loss of the three points at Tolka Park.

“Awful. Back three, it's probably the worst defensive display I've ever seen from us. You're talking about Dan Cleary, Sean Hoare, Lee Grace - I would say 12-15 leagues there between them and we played like we'd never played a game or together before.”

Their visitors on Friday night are likely to bear the brunt of that criticism however, and with defender Pico Lopes also back in contention following his AFCON exploits, Rovers will be satisfied with nothing less than a solid performance and three points in the bag come 10pm.

Bradley was keen to stress that there is no panic around Tallaght after their slow start, a point he emphasised when he spoke to the Rovers media this week. He said: “Yes, we’re really happy. Obviously, we want more points on the board, we wanted two wins. But I get a completely different feel around the group this year. Last year I could feel the tension, the nervousness and the tightness within the group with all the talk surrounding four in a row. “This year I feel a complete freedom and freshness, so it’s a really nice feeling and I thought parts of the Dundalk performance showed that and the last hour last week also showed it.

“We need to turn that into a 90-minute performance now against Drogheda, but I like where the group is in terms of that aspect. We would like more points, but we won’t panic, we’ve been here before and know what it takes’’.

Rovers are at home again on Monday night when they host Derry City in Tallaght.


Drogheda United are the only pointless team after two series of games so they will be looking to rectify that when they face up to the Hoops on Friday night.

They played well in their opening game of the season away to Derry City before losing 2-1, however they will have taken last week’s 4-1 thrashing by newly promoted Waterford in front of their home supporters at Weavers Park as a very bitter pill to swallow.

They got off to a great start in that match going 1-0 ahead as early as the 13th minute through new signing Zishim Bawa, but they went on to concede four goals in a very disappointing performance that put them at the bottom of the table.

On a more positive note, new boy Bawa showed a lot of promise up front and the mercurial Darragh Markey was as influential as ever in the middle of the park.

They did start with five close season new signings against the Blues and manager Kevin Doherty will be hoping the other new recruits now match Bawa’s and Markey’s performance levels against the Hoops if they are to take anything from the game.

Doherty has no injury worries ahead of the trip to Tallaght for the first of a double set of fixtures, with Bohemians next up at home in Weaver Park on Monday night.

Referee: Kevin O’ Sullivan


The Drogs were a bogey team for Rovers last season, drawing twice and winning once in their first three clashes.

Rovers did turn the tables on them however in their last clash in Tallaght at the end of October 2023 when they won 5-0.

They had five different scorers on that occasion, all of whom are still part of Rovers’ 2024 squad, albeit that some of these will not be involved on Friday night due to injury.

Trevor Clarke, Richie Towell and Johnny Kenny had them three nil up at the break, and Neil Farrugia and Markus Poom finished off a good night’s work for the Hoops with a further two goals after the break.


Shamrock Rovers 1/6; Draw 5/1; Drogheda United 11/1.


Shamrock Rovers   3-0 Drogheda United

Shamrock Rovers

Injured:  Neil Farrugia, Trevor Clarke, Sean Hoare, Aaron McEneff, Sean Kavanagh, Jack Byrne

Doubtful: None

Suspended: None

Drogheda United

Injured: None

Doubtful: None

Suspended: None