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McCormack urges Rovers to finish job

SHAMROCK Rovers are determined to get their hands on the Premier Division trophy tonight to avoid any possible last-night nerves on the final day of the season.

UCD's Belfield Bowl will see a record attendance turn up this evening for the Students' final home game of the season, a crucial match for the visitors as Rovers can make sure of a second successive title with victory.

Even if the Hoops lose tonight - and that's unlikely on the basis of form this season as Rovers have enjoyed four wins and a draw in their five meetings with College with an aggregate score of 23-4 - they still have the safety net of a home game on the last day of the season, against bottom side Galway United.


Given that Galway have lost 29 of their last 30 games in all competitions and have this season made some unwanted history by becoming the first top-flight club to concede over 100 goals in the league, the chances of Rovers slipping up at home to Galway next weekend are, ahem, slim.

But midfielder Conor McCormack insists that the Hoops squad want to make sure of the trophy by beating UCD tonight so they can enjoy the season finale on Friday without any nerves.

"We want to win the league and we want to finish off the job tonight, we don't want it to go until the last day of the season," says McCormack, who has been a key figure for the Hoops this season following his move from Italian side Triestina.

"We know that even if we slip up against UCD we can still win the league on Friday, it's in our own hands and we're not relying on favours or on other results.

"The other side of that is that we have everything to lose and it would be a disaster if we were to let it slip at this stage of the season having worked so hard to get to this position, where we can win the league with a game to spare.

"So we won't ease off against UCD tonight, we'll go out there to win the game, make sure we get the trophy won tonight and then we can enjoy Galway on Friday," added the former Manchester United trainee.

UCD have been battered by Rovers every time they've played them this season, though it's not all been one-way traffic. In an FAI Cup tie in Tallaght back in August, Rovers were cruising with a 2-0 lead but were pegged back to 2-2 and forced into a replay, which the Hoops won comfortably, 6-0.

That was the third time in five meetings that Rovers scored six against the Students, but the scoreline was at times harsh: in an August league game UCD held Rovers scoreless until the 62nd minute before Rovers took control and fired in six goals.

"Some of the games with them this season were tight," says McCormack. "We had to battle hard to get the first goal but once we got in front we were able to dominate, but getting that first goal was always hard.


"I expect a tough game against UCD tonight, the game is live on TV and their players will have a point to prove, they won't want to see us celebrating on their home patch so that's a factor we'll have to deal with, but I am confident that we can finish off the job."

Rovers will have to make changes to their side as Billy Dennehy, Chris Turner and Gary Twigg are suspended, while there are doubts over Karl Sheppard and Enda Stevens. UCD also have a weakened squad due to suspension (Samir Belhout and Daniel Ledwith) and injury (Ger Barron).