SHAMROCK Rovers defender Conor Powell (pictured) insists the Hoops are playing for more than pride when they take on Derry City in the Brandywell tonight.
Rovers will lose their grip on their title of all-Ireland champions unless they can overhaul a 3-0 deficit from the first leg of the Setanta Sports Cup semi-final in Dublin seven days ago, the first time since they moved to Tallaght in 2009 that the Hoops have conceded three goals at home in domestic competition.
Some in the Rovers camp feel that if Stephen Kenny's men are unable to overturn that scoreline and earn a meeting in the final with either Sligo Rovers or Crusaders, they can at least prove a point by winning the match, but Powell says that Rovers have not yet relinquished the Setanta title.
"We have to travel to Derry and go for it. We don't just want to win the game over 90 minutes, we want to try and win the tie and get into the final," says defender Powell. "I don't believe in that theory that we can restore our pride if we can win 1-0 or 2-0, the only way we can really restore our pride is by winning the tie and getting into the final.
"It's an uphill task to say the least, going to Derry is hard at the best of times but heading there with a 3-0 loss behind you from the home leg makes it very, very difficult," added the Dubliner.
Powell admits that in his career with his previous clubs Bohemians, Colchester United and Sligo Rovers, he has never been with a side that's managed to overcome a 3-0 deficit to progress -- but it can come about.
"It has happened in football before," Powell says. "The most famous one I suppose is the AC Milan-Liverpool Champions League final.
"It's an uphill task, we know that, and if Derry score early on the tie is probably over, but if we can nick an early goal that will really put them under pressure."
Powell has been one of the mainstays in defence for Rovers this season following his move from Sligo Rovers, but it's been a rough few weeks for Hoops defenders, the side having conceded 10 goals in the last five games, including that morale-sapping 3-0 loss at home to Derry last Monday.
"It was a factor in that game that we had our keeper sent off early, but that's only part of the reason why we lost so badly, we weren't at our best in the game," said Powell, who was rested for that game against Derry but could be restored to the side tonight.
"You have to give Derry credit for the way they played and took the goals but we just didn't defend well, it was just one of those bad nights for us."
Rovers had another difficult night on Friday when they had to come from 2-0 down to earn a 2-2 draw away to Bray Wanderers.
Battered pride is also an issue for Derry as they suffered a 2-1 defeat at home to strugglers Dundalk on Friday night.