Sligo Rovers host newly promoted Shelbourne in what is the beginning of the second round of matches of this season’s Airtricity League.
The Bit o’ Red go into this fixture in red hot form having hammered defending champions Shamrock Rovers 3-0 at the Showgrounds last Saturday. This means that the Connacht side have played every side in the division once without losing. They finished the opening phase of matches with a total of 27 points out of a possible 33 and are six points clear atop the table. Having won two FAI Cup titles in a row, Ian Baraclough’s men will take some beating this season.
Shelbourne go into the fixture having won three fixtures in a row (one of them a Leinster Senior Cup match) for the first time this season. They are one of only three sides to take a point from Sligo this season. Shels managed to stand firm last weekend having been reduced to ten men after only 13 minutes of play against UCD.
They managed to hold onto their one goal lead however, which came from a Philly Gorman close range after just 12 seconds. It was the earliest goal to have been scored in the Premier League this decade, though, amazingly UCD kicked off! Shelbourne even nicked another on the break midway through the second half and managed to hold out the students until the end of the game.
Shels’ manager Alan Matthews reported that he was ‘delighted’ with the commitment and application shown to win last week and that he wants “more of the same” this Friday at the Showgrounds. Matthews will have to plan without the long term injured duo of Lorcan Fitzgerald and Stephen Hurley, who have both resumed light training but are likely to be some weeks away from featuring competitively. Aside from the newly promoted side have a clean bill of health.