League Preview: Shelbourne -v- Derry City

Shelbourne fans

Shelbourne fans Credit: Paul Dolan (ETPhotos)


The Drumcondra debonairs will look to continue an impressive run of form when they welcome Derry City to Tolka Park this Easter Monday (kick-off 5pm).

The Reds top the table on 19 points, seven ahead of Sligo Rovers following six wins and one draw from their first seven games.

Duff’s side kicked off their Good Friday contest against Dundalk with a not-so good opening first half, before rallying in the second, with a goal and an assist from Liam Burt netting two on the scoreboard, Dundalk unable to claw back a second.

Ballyboden native Duff will not want a repeat of the slow start that afflicted his side on Friday night, nor may his voice box allow it, his half-time team talk leaving the former Irish international’s throat hoarse.

On speaking to shelbournefc.ie, the boss spoke to the dangers of becoming lost in what could ultimately be, a mirage of success.

“The message to the players is stay grounded, humble and keep working hard, the minute we come off who we are and let ourselves get carried away, in any sport that’s when you’re in trouble.

“The lads know, they don’t need me to tell them…what we need to do is just continue to be true to who we are, keep working hard, and we’ll be on the right path.”

If you support Shamrock Rovers, Bohemians or Derry City, Duffer may be in your head, but he’s far from losing his.

“I don’t get carried away, I probably fear the worst rather than anything…It’s important to pick up as many points as you can early doors, in round one or round four, doesn’t matter where the points come, they’re worth the same. “We want to keep building and keep building big and quick…we’ve to keep going, we’ve got an aim points-wise and hopefully we can hit that.”


The Candystripes will travel the A5 to Dublin tomorrow morning as Ruaidhri Higgins’ side journey to Tolka Park, where they will look to disrupt the smooth ascension of what is surely now the most talked about League of Ireland team in 2024.

The Brandywell ballers will step on Drumcondra turf having lost two matches on the bounce. Their most recent, a disappointing turnaround in their home game against Galway United which, to add insult to injury, ended a 10-month home unbeaten streak.

Manager Higgins did not sugarcoat the Candystripes disappointing display when confronted by the media following their 1-0 defeat to the Tribesmen.

“I’m not going to make excuses because it was a very poor performance from us. It was unacceptable” he said.

“We now have to pick ourselves up for Tolka Park on Monday. They’re flying at the minute and we will have to be an awful lot better than we were at the weekend if we want to get anything from the game.”

Referee: Eoghan O’Shea

Match Stats

Three contests in 2023 have resulted in three draws with only one goal conceded in total by each team across the three fixtures.

Past encounters suggest a gruelling chess match is set to absorb the Tolka faithful, while the Candystripes are sure to have swallowed Higgins' post-match analysis and may be buoyed to pull something sweet out of the bag in Drumcondra.

A performance much like that of their 4-0 blitz which ended a ten-year wait to win the FAI Cup in 2022, would be very much welcomed by the travelling fans.

Prediction: Shelbourne 2-1 Derry City


Injured: None.

Doubtful: None.

Suspended: Mark Coyle

Derry City

Injured: Colm Whelan, Adam O’Reilly, Ben Doherty, Sadou Diallo, Cameron Dummigan and Patrick McEleney.

Doubtful: None.

Suspended: None.