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World Cup podcast from Cuiaba

September 6, 2014 Leave a comment

Podcast for from Brazil. Speaking to Stephen Pollard back at extratime HQ in Dublin, we discussed my experiences of attending the World Cup group games in the city of Cuiaba (Chile v Australia, Russia v Korea, Nigeria v Bosnia and Colombia v Japan), travelling around the Mato Grosso state and the atmosphere in Brazil. Podcast recorded from the geodesic centre of South America with bonus Brazilian birds signing in the background!

First Sportscast from Brazil
Sportcasts Special from Brazil – Extratime reporter Macdara Ferris is in Brazil for the 2014 World Cup and he took time out to chat to one of the Extratime Sportscast presenters – Gareth O’Reilly – on his experiences to date in the country.

Articles from Brazil:

1 – Postcard from Brazil – Let the football begin
2 – Postcard from Brazil – Does your telly know you’re here
3 – Postcard from Brazil – Are you Holland in disguise?
4 – Postcard from Brazil – The Colombian Three Victories
5 – Postcard from Brazil – Bye bye to Brasilia – Rio bound on Rest Day
6 – Postcard from Brazil – Saint Julio Cesar to save Brazil?


Laws the new man at Shamrock Rovers

September 18, 2012 Leave a comment

Brian Laws has been appointed as Director of Football at Shamrock Rovers and will manage the current champions until the end of the 2012 Airtricity League season. He will take charge of team affairs for this Saturday’s EA Sports Cup final in Tallaght Stadium and for final number of weeks of the season.

The club’s board have moved quickly to appoint an interim manager to replace Stephen Kenny who left the club last week. Laws has extensive experience from his professional career in England having played and managed in all four divisions in English football. He last appointment was managing Burnley in the English Premier League. Shamrock Rovers chairman, Jonathan Roche said today that “we have six important league games and the EA Sports Cup final coming up over the next month and a half, and Brian is coming in to help the existing back room staff to do as well as possible in those games.

“Bringing Brian in also gives the club some breathing space to take our time to pick the next manager. Brian’s experience in game will help us very much in the short term, and he has recruited many players from Ireland so he is not a stranger to the league.”

Speaking today, Rovers’ new Director of Football said that “I am delighted to be joining Shamrock Rovers and look forward to working with the chairman, board of directors, players, staff and supporters to move the club forward into a new era. I have significant football managerial experience having taken charge of over 800 league games in all four divisions in England. I aim to bring that experience with me to advise, guide and lead the club’s short-term strategy. My strengths include getting to know clubs from top to bottom and leading change where necessary, at all times identifying and building on the club’s strengths, culture and brand. I am delighted to be accepting the challenge and can’t wait to get going.”

The fifty year old made his professional playing debut with Burnley in 1979 and went on to make 125 league appearances with the club in a defensive role. He played with Huddersfield town and made over 100 appearances for Middlesbrough. A £120,000 fee in 1999 brought him to Nottingham Forest where he had a successful six year stint with the club in England’s top division. He won two League Cups and has a runner’s up medal from the 1991 FA Cup Final. He started in the ill-fated FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool in Hillsborough in 1989.

Laws went on to combine playing and managing with two clubs in the late 90’s, Grimsby and Scunthorpe. He hung up his playing boots in 1998 and he spent over a decade managing Scunthorpe. He twice got them promoted from the fourth level of English football.

In 2006 he moved to take up the managerial position at Sheffield Wednesday where he stayed for three years. He left the club in December 2009 with Wednesday in relegation difficulty. His last managerial role was in the Premier League in 2010 with Burnley, the club where he started his playing career. He took over from Owen Coyle but he couldn’t keep top flight football in Burley and they were relegated that season. During his time with Burnley, he broke the 800 game barrier as a manager. He was sacked from his position with Burnley in December 2010 and has been out of the game since then with his name linked with a number of vacancies during that time.

Rovers made a speedy appointment the last time they had a managerial vacancy to fill. It was only on the eve of Rovers’ final Europa League Group in mid-December 2011 that it was confirmed that Michael O’Neill would not be staying with Shamrock Rovers. Rovers moved rapidly to replace the Northern Ireland manager, headhunting Stephen Kenny from Derry City within a fortnight to take over the reins at Tallaght from O’Neill. It is clear that this time around the Shamrock Rovers board want to take their time on the appointment. They have brought in an experienced manager in Laws to see out the season giving them time and space to peruse the large number of CVs that have already found their way to Tallaght Stadium.

Published on on Monday 17 September

Shamrock Rovers 3 – 0 St. Patrick’s Athletic Match Report


Shamrock Rovers 3 – 0 St. Patrick’s Athletic

While many eyes on Monday afternoon were on Giovanni Trapattoni’s Euro 2012 Squad announcement that contained six former League of Ireland players, in Tallaght Stadium Shamrock Rovers and St. Patrick’s Athletic packed their Leinster Senior Cup teams with potential future stars of the domestic game. In this quarter final clash, it was a youthful Rovers team that prevailed 3-0 against Pats with goals from Sean Gannon, Dean Ebbe and Aaron Greene.

Both managers brought in players from their under 19’s squad with Rovers’ Conor McCormack being the only player to start in this cup game for either side who had also played in the League last Friday night. For Stephen Kenny he was able to bring the experienced Colin Hawkins, Kerrea Gilbert, Stephen O’Donnell and Aaron Greene into his Rovers team alongside the younger players.

Pats, who were captained by Pat Flynn on the day, created some good chances in the opening period of the game. The first chance saw the visitors force a corner just three minutes into the game. Ryan Coombes delivery was controlled by Ian Daly at the edge of the six yard box but Gilbert closed the midfielder down to concede another corner. Next Kevin Dempsey got free on the left and cutting inside, his low shot was held by Rovers South African goalkeeper Reyadd Pieterse low to his left on six minutes.

18-year-old Lorcan Shannon was a constant treat down the left for Shamrock Rovers throughout the game and put in a man-of-the-match performance. His side strung a series of first half corners together. Dean Ebbe laid off Shannon’s first corner on the left to Conor McCormack whose shot went behind for another corner on 11 minutes.

Half way through the opening period, Shannon cut nicely inside Eoin Hyland but his shot couldn’t trouble Lee Brandon in the Pats goal. Shannon then played a fine ball in to Rovers captain Stephen O’Donnell. Aidan Price was in a good position to get a block on O’Donnell’s shot to concede another corner.

Rovers couldn’t take advantage from Shannon’s good deliveries from the next set of corners as first Ebbe and then Hawkins had chances in the box. On the half hour mark Pieterse had to be on his toes to save from Coombes. McCormack had another opportunity for Rovers from a Shannon pass but his shot went well over the bar.

Rovers should have opened the scoring on 33 minutes as three players were queuing up to convert Shannon’s cross on the left. Hyland at right back was given a torrid time by Shannon and his ball fizzed across the six-yard box. Greene, Ebbe and Kerrea Gilbert, getting forward from right back, all dived to get a decisive touch on the ball but they couldn’t force it home.

Just on half time Rovers made it 1-0. The move came after Greene had got a shot away. Rovers were able to pick up the ball again through Shannon who played the ball across the box and eventually the unmarked Sean Gannon got on the ball. The 20 year old had time and space to slot the ball home low into the bottom left corner of the goal to give the Hoops a half time lead.

There was a great opportunity for Rovers to double that lead on 53 minutes as Greene ran onto a weak back pass by Hyland. Brandon did well to force Greene wide and Ebbe couldn’t finish the square ball back from Greene when he really should have. However, the home side did get their second goal on the hour mark with Ebbe getting on the score sheet this time. McCormack was fouled just outside the box but referee Darren Coombes played on as the ball ran to Ebbe inside the box. He managed to steer the ball into the goal off the left hand post to make it 2-0.

Liam Buckley switched his side to three at the back after this as they chased the game. They were unlucky not to score when Dean Kelly’s crisp shot hit the bar from a Kevin Farragher pass. Minutes later Kelly got another shot away from a free kick wide on the left. The Pats players and fans called for a goal but Pieterse diving on top of the ball on his line just about kept the ball out. Next Pats were calling for a penalty as Conor Pepper diving for a header with Gilbert in the box felt he was pulled back but the ref indicated it wasn’t a penalty.

It was Rovers’ turn to hit the bar on 76 minutes as Greene picked up an O’Donnell pass and got by Price to shoot. Brandon looked to get a touch as the ball bounced down off the cross bar and away to safety for Pats. Shortly after this let off for Rovers, there was a long delay as referee Coombes went down with a leg injury. The game was stopped for over eight minutes and the fourth official had to come on to officiate for the remainder of the game.

Ian Daly had a chance to score for Pats during the 13 minutes of injury time when Kelly’s touch came to him outside the box. Pieterse made a great double save following Daly’s chance to prevent a Pats goal. It was Rovers who got the final goal of this entertaining game as Aaron Greene got an opportunity in the Pats box to fire home and make it 3-0 just before the final whistle.

Shamrock Rovers: Reyadd Pieterse; Kerrea Gilbert, Colin Hawkins, Donal Branagan, Jack Memery; Sean Gannon, Conor McCormack, Stephen O’Donnell, Lorcan Shannon (Tom O’Rourke 98); Dean Ebbe (Sean Dixon 96), Aaron Greene.
Subs not used: Oscar Jansson, Lee Steacy, Karl McGrath, Dean Power, Paul Moffat.
Bookings: Donal Branagan 38.

St Patrick’s Athletic: Lee Brandon; Eoin Hyland, Aidan Price, Kevin Farragher, Jake Carroll; Dean Kelly, Pat Flynn, Ryan Coombes, Kevin Dempsey (Adam O’Connor 63), Conor Pepper; Ian Daly.
Subs not used: Brendan Clarke, Rob Cornwall, Jamie McGlynn, Aaron Behan, Mario Chindea, Niall Conran.
Bookings: Jake Carroll 51.

Referee: Darren Coombes.
Attendance: 750 (estimate). Man of the Match: Lorcan Shannon

Kenny pleased with second half comeback

Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Kenny had to be satisfied with a point from their game with Bray Wanderers in the Carlisle Grounds on Friday night. Rovers had a very poor first half and found themselves 2-0 down at the break. However, in a much-improved second half, they scored two and could have claimed a winner.

The visitors might have been going in at half time just a goal down as, just before the break, Gary Twigg earned a penalty for the Hoops. Darren Quigley saved Twigg’s penalty before Billy Dennehy put the ball in the net on the rebound. But referee Paul McLaughlin ruled it out to the confusion of many in the ground.

Speaking to after the game, Stephen Kenny was able to confirm that a free out was “given for encroachment” by a Rovers player. If Twigg had scored with that encroachment, the rules state the penalty would have to have been retaken. As the penalty was missed, the referee was correct in awarding a free to Bray.

The supporters on the night spent much of half time discussing these penalty infringement rules but Stephen Kenny was plotting with his team how they could turn around the two-goal deficit. Kenny asked for his team to step up physically, especially in midfield, and they responded with a much better performance in the second half

“The midfield area was problematic in the first half,” admitted Kenny, “but in the second half it was much much better. We had to believe in ourselves and be physically stronger. I felt we had the capacity to get back into the game as we have the ability to score goals and create chances. We were much stronger in the second half.”

Additional strength was provided by second half substitute Daryl Kavanagh who played a key part in both of Shamrock Rovers goals. Just after the hour mark Kavanagh replaced Gary O’Neill who had taken a knock to his ankle. Having scored his first goal for the Hoops in last week’s 6-0 win over Dundalk, Kavanagh first got a touch to play the ball into Ronan Finn for Rovers’ opener. He then held off a couple of Bray challenges in midfield before sliding a ball through to Gary Twigg who got the equaliser eight minutes from time.

“Daryl had a good energy and gave us a good impetus,” said Kavanagh’s manager. “He did well for us getting us back into the game. The two goals we got were outstanding goals but the disappointment was that we couldn’t get the third goal that we needed.”

Shamrock Rovers now face into back-to-back games against Derry City. The Hoops travel to the Brandywell on Monday night for the second leg of the Setanta Sports Cup semi-final 3-0 down after the first leg. They will then play Derry again, this time at home, in the Airtricity League as Stephen Kenny faces the team he managed last year. “We’ve got Derry on Monday and Friday. Monday is a tall order. Friday is a big one as we need to get back to winning ways in the league.”

Bray Wanderers 2 – 2 Shamrock Rovers

Shamrock Rovers were lucky to escape from their trip to the Carlisle Grounds in Bray with a 2-2 draw. Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters scored both of Bray Wanderers’ goals. However, his first half goals were cancelled out by Ronan Finn and Gary Twigg, who got the equaliser for Rovers eight minutes from time.

Bray Wanderers dominated proceedings in the first half. Dane Massey and Waters were constant thorns in the visitor’s sides. Massey went close after just three minutes when his shot hit the side net. Rovers could have conceded a penalty 10 minutes later as Conor McCormack’s hand flicked away a ball that Waters had lifted inside the Rovers right-back.

Some nice build up play from Bray saw Adam Hanlon get down the Rovers right. He played a dangerous ball into the box and Jason Byrne stepped over it to allow Waters get a shot away. Oscar Jansson saved that shot but could do nothing four minutes later when Bray opened the scoring. It was a great move with some lovely linked up play between Massey and Byrne. Massey played in Waters whose crisp left foot finish hit the back of the net from the edge of the box.

Rovers finally came into the game on the half hour mark with Gary McCabe floating in a couple of crosses but first Chris Turner and then Gary Twigg wasted headed chances.

On 35 minutes Rovers keeper Jansson came running out of his box to head a Bray through ball clear. McCabe picked the ball up for Rovers but was sloppy in possession allowing Waters to try a speculative shot from 40 yards that went over the bar.

Two mintues later Wanderers double their lead with Waters getting his second of the night. Dean Zambra passed to Waters wide on the left. He showed great skill as he cut inside Craig Sives and with his right foot slotted the goal away nicely.

Controversy reigned just before half time. Gary Twigg was fouled by Pierce Sweeney in the Bray box and referee Paul McLaughlin pointed to the spot. Twigg put it away but the ‘keeper and referee were not ready. The ref was busy sending off Keith Long from the Bray dugout as he protested over the penalty concession. When eventually Twigg retook the penalty, it was saved by Darren Quigley. Billy Dennehy slotted the rebound home but he had encroached into the area. As the penalty had been saved, the ref ruled that it wasn’t goal and play was restarted with a free out to Bray.

Bray looked to protect their lead in the second half and defended resolutely until they were picked apart by Rovers on the break. Second half substitute Daryl Kavanagh slotted Ronan Finn in on goal in the box. Finn’s fine finish low to Darren Quigley’s left made it 2-1.

Bray’s discipline began to let them down. Jason Byrne picked up Bray’s fourth yellow card when he conceded a free in a dangerous position. Dennehy’s free beat the wall but not Quigley in goal who claimed it at the second attempt.

Daryl Kavanagh provided great impetus for Rovers when he came on and he set up the equaliser. He picked up the ball in midfield and holding off a couple of Bray challenges played the ball to Twigg in the box. Twigg took once touch and tucked it away to make it 2-2.

Rovers had one final chance to get a winner that they really wouldn’t have deserved. McCabe picked up a return ball thanks to Finn’s flicked back heel but the winger shot high over the bar as the game ended in a draw.

Bray Wanderers: Darren Quigley; David Webster, Danny O’Connor, Pierce Sweeney, Kevin Knight (Adam Mitchell 83); Adam Hanlon, Dane Massey, Dean Zambra, John Mulroy, Kieran Marty Waters; Jason Byrne (Daire Doyle 86).
Subs not used: Brian Kane, Stephen Last, Graham Kelly, Jonathan Kelty, Anthony Bolger.
Yellow Cards: John Mulroy (52), Dane Massey (58), Darren Quigley (60), Jason Byrne (75).

Shamrock Rovers: Oscar Jansson; Conor McCormack, Craig Sives, Ken Oman, Conor Powell (Aaron Greene 79); Gary McCabe, Chris Turner, Ronan Finn, Billy Dennehy; Gary Twigg, Gary O’Neill (Daryl Kavanagh 64).
Subs not used: Reyaad Pierterse, Sean Gannon, Graham Gartland, Stephen Rice, Dean Ebbe,
Bookings: Conor Powell (41), Ronan Finn (56).

Referee: Paul McLaughlin.
Attendance: 1,500 (estimate). Man of the Match: Kieran Marty Waters (Bray Wanderers).

Difficult decision on Euro squad awaits Tardelli

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With just 50 days to go to UEFA 2012, there is much for the Irish management team to concern themselves with. However, it was a relaxed Marco Tardelli who met with the Irish media pitch side at the Aviva Stadium on Thursday.

Tardelli’s task, along with Giovanni Trapattoni, will be to decide who to leave out of the tournament squad. Deliberations will be difficult with a number of players having injury concerns and others looking to play their way into the squad as the domestic football season reaches its conclusion.

Speaking at the Aviva following a Show Racism the Red card function, Tardelli gave an update on the injury status on Ireland’s key player Richard Dunne. “I spoke with him and I think he will be with us maybe for 17 May,” said Ireland’s assistant manager. “He is starting to prepare and I think it is very important for us that he is fit for the cup.”

Giovanni Trapattoni and Tardelli will have to disappoint a number of players when they name their squad for the Euros. “We need to decide on 23 players and we have 30 players so it is very tough on us to decide. All positions are up for grabs and it is possible things will change for injuries.”

“James McCarthy has played well this season,” said the former World Cup winner. “His personality, his physicality and understanding of where the ball is means he plays very well. McClean is possible. Wes Hoolahan is a good player and maybe in the future it is possible he can be with us.”

When asked by how much preparation has there been looking at Ireland’s opponents in the Group Stages, Tardelli responded by saying “Everyday me and Giovanni watch the DVDs and sometimes also we watch the matches live. We know the teams very well and know that those teams are very strong.”

With Chelsea having beaten Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final first leg on Wednesday night playing a certain defensive system against an attacking Barca side, does it give Tardelli a template for Ireland against World Champions Spain? “I don’t think so,” explained Tardelli. “It is better to press Spain. Spain are a different team from Barcelona as they are without Messi.”

Hoops mark Milltown 25th anniversary

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This week marked the 25th anniversary of Shamrock Rovers’ last game in Milltown. On Friday to commemorate that last game, Shamrock Rovers and their club’s Heritage Trust organised a walk from the monument outside Milltown to Rovers’ new home in Tallaght.

The walk began with a small ceremony in Milltown that was addressed by former Rovers player Mick Byrne, scorer of the last Rovers goal in Milltown, in front of a crowd of around 200 club supporters. The fans then set out on the 10km walk to Tallaght Stadium ahead of that evening’s game against Dundalk. spoke with Mick Byrne and asked him about his memories of Milltown.
“I used to walk through the gates here on Sunday and know we were going to win the match,” recalled Byrne who was an integral part of the Rovers team that won four-in-a-row league titles in Milltown in the 1980’s. “My fondest memory is just coming here and scoring goals here.”

The journey on Friday night took two hours to complete as the fans walked from Milltown through Dartry, Rathgar, Terenure, Templogue before arriving in Tallaght Stadium. The highly controversial decision by the Kilcoyne family to sell Glenmalure Park in 1987 meant it was a 22-year journey for the football club to get from Milltown to Tallaght.

Addressing the crowd on Friday evening was James Cooke who was involved in the Keep Rovers at Milltown (KRAM) campaign and is now a member of the Rovers Heritage Trust. “When those gates closed 25 years ago, this football club was effectively thrown on the scrap heap of Irish football,” said Cooke. “To have survived 22 years not knowing from season to season where we were going to play was a miracle. This football club is stronger now than at any other period in our history.”

At different stages after leaving Milltown, Rovers played games in Tolka Park, Dalymount Park, RDS, Morton Stadium, Richmond Park and even played one home game 200km from Milltown in Turners Cross in Cork. Rovers eventually played their first game in Tallaght three years ago.

When the club organised a ceremony at Milltown for the 20th anniversary back in 2007, at the time it remained to be seen would Rovers even get to Tallaght as the GAA had taken out a High Court Judicial Review over access to the stadium. This 25th anniversary has seen some ghosts laid to rest as in the five years since that last ceremony, the club is now firmly embedded in Tallaght Stadium, playing in front of crowds in excess of 3,000 and are back-to-back League of Ireland champions.

In the month that Louis Kilcoyne died, the club are in as strong a position as they have been since Kilcoyne sold Glenmalure Park for housing. So can the club close the chapter on the controversy of the sale of Milltown? “I think we should do now,” said Mick Byrne. “It is unfortunate that it happened at the time. But I think the club is in a much better place now and we have to get over it.”

When the fans arrived in Tallaght after the walk, the club laid on some drinks in the ‘Glenmalure Suite’ function room in the stadium as reward for making the 10km trek to Tallaght. On the pitch Rovers rewarded the fans with an impressive 6-0 victory over Dundalk.

SD Galway 0-2 Shamrock Rovers

Match report for (April 9, 2012)

After Good Friday’s filleting by five goals to one, Shamrock Rovers arose and appeared to put that defeat to Pats behind them as the beat SD Galway in the EA Sports Cup. Two first half penalties from Gary McCabe were the difference between the sides in a game that the Dubliners dominated from start to finish.

The Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Kenny gave a debut to goalkeeper Reyaad Pieterse and his first touch after three minutes coming to claim a ball looked to be outside the area. However the match officials gave the big South African ‘keeper the benefit of the doubt.

The game was just seven minutes old when Shamrock Rovers won a penalty. Conor McCormack and Stephen Rice linked up well on the right with Rice feeding in Gary McCabe. The right-winger was taken down by Timmy Molloy and McCabe took the penalty himself to make it 1-0 to the visitors.

Rovers dominated possession in the first half and Devon found it very hard to penetrate the Rovers defence. Ronan Burke in the Devon goal could only parry a free kick from Killian Brennan but he did very well to save the follow up from Gary O’Neill from point blank range. The 100 or so Shamrock Rovers fans thought their side were about to go two up but Daryl Kavanagh’s shot from outside the area flashed inches by the right hand post.

It was a hectic last five minutes of the first half as the home side created their only two real chances of the period. Nicky Curran punted a free from his own half and Pieterse came to punch at the edge of the Rovers box. In the swirling wind he did not get a good connection but was fouled as the ball dropped in the box. Devon followed that chance up with Enda Curran getting an opportunity to strike a shot in the box but the ex-Devon man Colin Hawkins blocked his shot down.

Just on half time, Shamrock Rovers doubled their lead with another penalty. Rovers got the opportunity after good work by Gary McCabe and Conor McCormack. They played a one-two that saw McCormack get away down the wing. He put a weak cross in that defender Paddy Quinlan dwelt too long on and Daryl Kavanagh just nipped in front to take the ball. Quinlan took him down as he tried to clear. McCabe took this penalty to make it 2-0 choosing to slot the ball away in the opposite left hand corner from his earlier goal.

In the second half Daryl Kavanagh went closest to extending Rovers’ lead. He had a goal ruled out for offside after 49 minutes, forced Devon ‘keeper Burke into a good save on 74 minutes and he also hit the bar after a Gary O’Neill step over allowed him in on goal five minutes later.

The Hoops deserved a third for the fine passing move they put together on 75 minutes. Reyaad Pieterse, who had to be quick out of his box to head clear a through ball minutes earlier, threw the ball out quickly to his full back Conor Powell. Powell linked up with Gary O’Neill who fed Killian Brennan. Brennan then played in Powell who had gone on a fine run and his shot was pushed onto the post by Ronan Burke.

Devon played out the final nine minutes with ten men as Willie Enubele picked up a second yellow card, this time for dissent, but Rovers couldn’t exploit the additional space in those final minutes. Devon still await their first win of the season while Rovers move onto the quarter final of the EA Sports Cup.

SD Galway: Ronan Burke; Nicky Curran, Paddy Quinlan, Brian Geraghty, Tommy Bradshaw; Colm Horgan, Willie Enubele, Luke McConnell (Michael Harty 77), Timmy Molloy (Eugene Greaney 73), Brian Gaffney; Enda Curran (Michael Tierney 67).
Subs Not Used: James Keane, Ronan Conlon, Gerry Dolan, Charlie Burke.
Bookings: E Curran (22), Geraghty (24), Enubele (59), Greaney (87).
Sent Off: Enubele (81).

Shamrock Rovers: Reyaad Pieterse; Conor McCormack, Colin Hawkins, Graham Gartland, Conor Powell; Gary McCabe (Lorcan Shannon 91), Killian Brennan, Stephen Rice, Aaron Greene; Gary O’Neill (Dean Ebbe 91), Daryl Kavanagh.
Subs not used: Oscar Jansson, Sean Gannon, Craig Sives, Chris Turner, Billy Dennehy.
Bookings: K Brennan (55).

Referee: Phil Caschera.
Attendance: 250 (estimate)
ExtraTime Man of the Match: Gary McCabe.

Glass looks to continue winning start

Stephen Glass, Shamrock Rovers’ assistant manager, may be new to the Airtricity League but is he fully aware that, whatever the competition, Shamrock Rovers versus Bohemians is a significant fixture.

“I’m definitely aware of that!” said Glass when caught up with him after Friday’s 3-1 win over Monaghan and ahead of Monday’s home Leinster Senior Cup game against Bohs.

“I’m well aware of how many derbies there are and that Bohemians is a big one,” said Glass who played under Stephen Kenny at Dunfermline. “I’m really looking forward to it. Maybe the numbers won’t be as big as tonight in terms of crowd. We got a great backing tonight and I’m sure those that come along on Monday night will do the same and they will be wanting to see a win.”

Winning the Leinster Senior Cup would not be high on the priorities of either club but the thoughts of getting one over on their Dublin rivals will mean that Monday’s game will be a well contested tie. Bohemians knocked Rovers out of this competition last season and they have a rich history in this cup. The Gypsies won the trophy for the first time back in 1895 and have won it a record 31 times.

Shamrock Rovers have the record for league of Ireland titles and Glass will want his club to make it title number 18 this season. Rovers have gained two wins out of two in the league so far but have conceded the first goal in each game.

“We’ve scored a lot of good goals and have come from behind twice,” said Glass, “but obviously if you can prevent going behind you have a greater chance of winning the game. You can’t keep going behind and win games. It does show there is a really great spirit in the group. We have the strength of character to come from behind.”

Last Friday, Monaghan United came to Tallaght with a specific plan to try and contain Rovers’ attacking options.

“It was pretty apparent that they tried to stop our full backs getting forward especially Kerrea Gilbert,” said the Scotsman. “I think if we were cleverer in the first half and more accurate with our passing we could have used it to our advantage. We were better in the second half, moved it better and went ahead. I think we showed enough to win the game.”

It took a moment of brilliance from Killian Brennan for Rovers to score as his audacious back flick volley found the net. “Killian’s goal was a good one,” said Glass. “It was an opportunists goal more than anything else. He has got those flicks in his locker, he’s got good ability and he is always likely to pull something unorthodox out.”

Roddy relished his Rovers return

It wasn’t exactly the result Roddy Collins wanted from the match against champions Shamrock Rovers on Friday night. However, speaking to after his team’s 3-1 defeat, it is clear how thrilled Collins is to be back where he feels he belongs and is relishing the challenge that faces him and his club Monaghan United.

“I’m absolutely delighted,” said Collins about being involved again in top flight Irish football. “I’m so happy, it is brilliant. I’m loving it and loving the players I have around me. I’m loving people saying that Monaghan will be the whipping boys.”

Following their 0-0 draw in their first league game of the season at home to Dundalk, it was a daunting trip for United to Tallaght Stadium on Friday, especially shorn of some influential players due to injuries to players such as Robert Bayly. It was a Rovers return for Collins who managed the Hoops in 2005, the season the club was relegated. In his team back then and on Friday night was Willo McDonagh who put Monaghan in the lead after only three minutes.

“It was great for Willo as he played here with me,” said Collins, “but we weren’t just thinking about coming back to Rovers. It was just good to play here as it’s a good arena and good atmosphere for the lads to play in.”

And what kind of reception did he get from the home crowd? “The more abuse you get, the warmer welcome!” joked Collins. “I’ve a great rapport with the Rovers supporters. Whatever comes from the terraces, they’ll have the craic. There is no ill intent from me. They know it is a bit of entertainment. It is only a game of football. If they get entertained slagging me, then so be it.”

Monaghan set out to try and frustrate Shamrock Rovers, who began the season with a 2-1 win the previous week against Drogheda United. Collins deployed a specific system to try and nullify Rovers’ attacking options.

“We had a go with two left wingers because I watched them last week against Drogheda and they destroyed Drogheda down that side. So it was vitally important to keep their right back (Kerrea) Gilbert defending.

“That allowed their centre halves to have the ball and they were always going to lump it long to Billy Dennehy. They didn’t have the balance to pass it through midfield and we stopped them four or five times. That was the plan.

“But they have the players to change it and we didn’t. We got away with it until the kid (Owen Humphrey) got injured and then the plan changed and it was a wing and prayer then.”

Three second half goals from Rovers meant Monaghan would go home empty handed from Tallaght and now have one point out of a possible six available to them in the league. So what are Collins’ expectations for the season?

“Stay in the league. If we can get one point more than the last team, we are guaranteed a play off and we are good at play offs. That is all.”