SHAMROCK ROVERS v BOHEMIANS
Friday March 3rd, Tallaght Stadium, 7.30pm
(Please note earlier kick-off time of 7.30pm to allow for live coverage on RTÉ2)
Bohemians travel to Tallaght to face Shamrock Rovers in the Dublin Derby with both sides looking to register their first points of the season.
Bohs were left licking their wounds as Derry City came away 4-1 winners at Dalymount Park on opening night, while the Hoops lost out 2-1 to champions Dundalk at Oriel Park.
The Candystripes’ winning margin did not tell the whole story, with manager Keith Long urging his side to learn from individual mistakes that gifted goals to the visitors.
Long said: “We played well in parts, there were a lot of things to be positive about. But ultimately Derry didn’t have to do a lot to find themselves 3-0 in front.
“Our players gave everything, even at 3-0 down. We got a goal back and then had a goal ruled out that should have been given in my opinion.
“That would have made it 3-2 and it’s a completely different dynamic then, so I was pleased with the players’ attitude and willingness to get back into the game.
“But the bottom line is we have to cut out basic errors. That’s what cost us.
“Derry are a good side, so you can’t make it easy for them. We’ve been working on that in training all week and the application of the players has been excellent.
“We’ll be going to Tallaght with confidence.”
The Dublin derby is the first game both sets of supporters look for when the fixture list comes out.
Long said: “The game has come early! It’s a big one for both clubs. Rovers have spent a lot of money assembling a squad that is expected to challenge, so there’s pressure there too.
“We’ve both started the season with a defeat. There’s pressure on both teams even though we’re only one game in.
“We can pretend it’s just another game but we all know that’s not true. But it’s a great game and occasion for us to go and try bounce back.
“We just have to go out, focus on our own game and deliver a performance.”
Long said his new squad were enthused and encouraged by the support they received last week and is counting on more of the same in Tallaght.
He added: “The supporters were brilliant. They were as disappointed as we were coming off the pitch but their support throughout gave us a big lift.
“They really got behind us. They were fantastic. We know that they will bring that to Tallaght on Friday too. There’s always a big atmosphere and the players feed off the energy and buzz of our fans.”
Bohs continue to be without the services of Eoin Wearen (cruciate) and Ismahil Akinade, who underwent surgery on Wednesday to remove his spleen in order to rectify a blood platelets count issue.
BARS OPEN AT DALYMOUNT PARK
For those not travelling to Tallaght, the Members’ Bar at Dalymount Park will be open from 7pm and will be showing the game. All pints €4.