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Shamrock Rovers -v- Monaghan United preview

http://extratime.ie/newsdesk/articles/7562/

Published: March 08, 2012

SHAMROCK ROVERS:
Stephen Kenny has utilised his Shamrock Rovers squad extensively already this season. After Rovers’ 2-1 win in Drogheda on the opening night of the Airtricity League, Kenny made seven changes to that line-up in their 2-0 win earlier this week against Cliftonville in the Setanta Sports Cup.

Against Monaghan United this Friday, the starting eleven will likely see the return of Killian Brennan, who missed the Cliftonville game due to suspension, and Gary Twigg, who scored both of Rovers’ goals in that league win over Drogheda United. It is also the chance for new Shamrock Rovers club captain Ken Oman to pull on the armband for the Hoops for the first time in a league game at Tallaght Stadium. Definitely missing for Rovers will be Ciarán Kilduff, Conor McCormack and Conor Winn who are all out due to injury.

It would be a shock if Stephen Kenny’s men failed to pick up their second win of the league campaign but the Rovers manager has been stressing the importance to his players that they need to earn the win against Monaghan. “Every single victory this season will be hard fought,” said Kenny. “I think the idea that you might have easy games is naïve. You have to fight for every single point you put on the board in a season, and our players are more than aware of that; they know they have to work hard every week.”

“We can’t drop our standards for anyone or we will get turned over, that is the same as it is for any team. This is our first home game of the season, and we will be looking for a win from that. From our point of view, we’ll have gotten our season off to a strong start if we get three wins from three in a week.”

MONAGHAN UNITED:
Monaghan United, who opened their league campaign with a 0-0 draw at home to Dundalk, face a tough first away game of the season against the back-to-back league champions. Manager Roddy Collins has a much changed squad from the one who were promoted last season. Collins handed six competitive debuts in their hard fought draw on opening night. However, defensively they have continuity in their team with three of last year’s back four (Aidan Collins, Conor McMahon and Alan Byrne) playing in front of new goalkeeper Chris Bennion. If United can keep another clean sheet this week, they would head back to Monaghan quite happy with that outcome.

For Roddy Collins, it is a return to Rovers, a club he managed back in 2005. Collins was relieved of his managerial duties towards the end of that season, a season that Rovers ended by being relegated for the only time in their history. Willo McDonagh is also returning to Rovers where he played under Collins’ management. Both the manager and player may be in for an unfriendly reception in Tallaght as McDonagh’s disciplinary record and Collins’ managerial record are not remembered fondly by the Hoops faithful.

Monaghan may well have to do without another former Rovers player Robert Bayly due to injury. There are also injury concerns over Aidan Collins, Gareth O’Connor and Shaun Maher but they do have the boost of midfielder Keith Quinn being available for selection this week.

Referee: Graham Kelly

MATCH STATS:
The teams last met in a pre-season friendly at Tallaght Stadium in 2011 which ended in a 0-0 draw.

Their last competitive meeting was in 2006 when both sides were in the First Division. Back then Rovers’ 2-0 win over United in their penultimate home game of the season went a long way to securing that year’s First Division title for the Hoops.

It is ten years since the teams played each other in the Premier Division when Stephen Grant got an 86th minute winner in a 3-2 win for Shamrock Rovers.

BETTING:
Shamrock Rovers 1/5; Draw 5/1; Monaghan 11/1

PREDICTION:
Hard to see beyond a home win for the Hoops: 3-0 to Shamrock Rovers.

Shamrock Rovers Injury News: Ciarán Kilduff (broken metatarsal), Conor McCormack (ankle ligament injury), Conor Winn (back).
Shamrock Rovers Suspensions: None
Monaghan United Injury News: Robert Bayly, Aidan Collins Gareth O Connor, Shaun Maher (all doubtful)
Monaghan United Suspensions: None

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