League Preview: Shamrock Rovers -v- Derry City

Jack Byrne points the way ahead of Derry City's Michael Duffy in the game in the Brandywell in May 2023 - Byrne scored both goals in the 2-0 win

Jack Byrne points the way ahead of Derry City's Michael Duffy in the game in the Brandywell in May 2023 - Byrne scored both goals in the 2-0 win Credit: John-Paul McGinley (ETPhotos)


The Hoops face into a crucial five days as they host second placed Derry City on Monday (kick-off 8pm), followed on Friday by a home game against current league leaders Shelbourne.

Rovers have just the one win from their last seven league matches (their worst run since the start of last season) and have lost two of the last three, including a 1-0 defeat to Dundalk last Friday.

Their injury list has shortened considerably with Aaron McEneff making his first appearance for Rovers of the season up in Oriel Park and Lee Grace, Dylan Watts and Richie Towell back in contention for Monday.

“We’d like to have more points and more wins on the board, there’s no doubt about that,” said Hoops Head Coach Stephen Bradley speaking to shamrockrovers.ie. “But to be fair to the group, being stretched and where they’ve been in terms of numbers, I think they’ve been brilliant in terms of stepping up.

"We’ll see how it is come the end of the season. We always have a run at some point in the season when you don’t quite hit your form, drop points, lose or draw games. Right now, we lost on Friday, so we need to look to bounce back.

“We understand we controlled a scrappy game on Friday, when you’re in those games where it looks like nobody is going to win it, you make sure you don’t lose it. We lost on Friday and that’s the disappointing bit. But this group doesn’t panic, we don’t like it, but we need to understand why we lost the game and move on quickly.

"But there’ll be no panic, we’ve been here before and know what it takes. We’re not even halfway through the season, if we have enough come the end of it, we have enough and if we don’t, we don’t.”

Looking at Monday’s opposition, Bradley said: “We know they have really good individuals; Duffy, Patching, McEleney, McMullen.

"We know Derry are a good side, but we know we’ve got to respect and understand what they do, but impose ourselves on them as soon as possible, which we did recently in Derry (winning 3-1) and which we'll try and do.”


The four League of Ireland teams in European action this season all play on Monday night. While Stephen Kenny’s St. Patrick’s Athletic host Damien Duff’s Shelbourne, Ruaidhrí Higgins brings his Derry City side to Tallaght.

City pushed five points clear of Rovers on Friday night thanks to a Paul McMullan goal in their 1-0 win away to St. Pats while the Hoops lost 1-0 in Dundalk.

The Candystripes have the chance to go top of the league on Monday, depending on the Shels result, as they are only a point off the league leaders.

The Candystripes and the Hoops have already played each other twice in the league this season.

In early March they drew 2-2. City fell behind to a Darragh Burns goal just before the hour mark, only to score twice in 12 minutes to take the lead – Pat Hoban put away a penalty in the 72nd minute before Danny Mullen scored.

However, the Hoops earned a point when Markus Poom scored in the second minute of injury time. 

In the Brandywell in mid-April, Derry were defeated 3-1, with Hoban scoring a consolation goal two minutes from time.

Referee: Damien MacGraith


Pat Hoban is the league’s top goalscorer with nine goals. Shamrock Rovers players sit second and third in the table – Aaron Greene has eight goals and Johnny Kenny six. 

No goalkeeper has conceded more goals in the Premier Division (18) than Leon Pöhls.

Rovers have scored in a club record 55 consecutive home league games dating back to a 1-0 loss to Sligo Rovers three years ago this month.


1-0 home win

Shamrock Rovers

Injured: Sean Hoare, Darragh Burns, Gary O'Neill, Rory Gaffney

Doubtful: Lee Grace, Richie Towell, Dylan Watts

Suspended: None

Derry City

Injured: Colm Whelan

Doubtful: Mark Connolly

Suspended: None