League Preview: Sligo Rovers -v- Shelbourne



The anglicisation of the Irish name Sligeach, meaning "abounding in shells" or "shelly place.” The Gateway City will welcome a 400 strong contingent of Shelbourne fans as Sligo Rovers look to secure their first win of the season when they receive The Auld Reds at The Showgrounds this Friday night.

Despite picking up only two points from a possible six, following draws against Bohemians FC and Derry City, manager John Russell believes his side can take many positives from an undefeated start to the season.

“It’s a clean sheet. It’s something to build on.” Russell reflected following last week's scoreless draw where they frustrated the visitors from the Maiden City.

“The performances of Nando, Ollie Denham, they really dealt with Patrick Hoban all night. JR, Reece, won their 1v1 battles against Duffy and McMullan. These are real attacking threats. Ed was commanding and really good on crosses and dealt with it. Throughout the team, from Max we had good shape and good structure about us.”

"I said to the lads before the game, ‘playing in front of a big crowd at home, all the fans want is 100%, make sure you leave everything on the pitch’, and the lads did that.

A challenging contest awaits for the Bit O’Red this Friday night and Russell will no doubt be hopeful that an unlucky result against Bohs, nor a respectable draw against title contenders Derry, will not deter the fans from bracing the brisk March night.

“Two tough games, we’ll worry about Shelbourne first, they’ve had a good start to the season, good team, we’ll be looking forward to them coming down to Sligo and hopefully we’ll have another big crowd.”


Shelbourne fans from the Capital are unlikely to feel the three and a half hour journey to The Showgrounds, given the hum of anticipation that has settled over Tolka in the days following their 2-1 victory over defending Champions Shamrock Rovers.

Speaking to ShelbourneFC.ie, Damien Duff gave an update on squad fitness.

“Shane Griffin is still out, working through his injury. Sean Boyd is obviously suspended, aside from that we’ve a full team. John O’Sullivan went off last Friday, he just got a dead leg, he’s trained all week and is good to go.”

Duff has full confidence in the strength and depth of his squad and will aim to win three games on the bounce, a quick turnaround when newly promoted Galway United retrace their steps from Connacht and travel to Tolka Park no doubt helped by the fresh legs available to him.

“I said it from day one, the squad is a lot stronger this year.” He stated. “We’ve seen so far, I would say the bench has played a big part in getting us the four points, we’ve a strong healthy squad full of quality and making changes is something we will

do on the night and between games.”

Reflecting on Shelbournes opposition, Duff opined.

“You could argue they’re a new outfit, made a lot of changes in the off season to their squad, John Russell would admit himself maybe that it was needed after last season. They’ve got top players, there for everyone to see, really dangerous players, a very good team. We have to go down there and show them respect as individuals and as a team, because they have a lot of quality.”

Referee: Declan Toland

Sligo Rovers:

Injured: John Mahon

Doubtful: None.

Suspended: None.


Injured: Shane Griffin.

Doubtful: None.

Suspended: Sean Boyd.