Tuesday 23 January 2018

Rovers to seek Cup comforts

Shamrock Rovers will be chasing some solace after a disastrous finale to their Airtricity League campaign when they take on St Patrick's Athletic today in the FAI Ford Cup semi-final.

For most of the season Rovers looked like they were cruising towards league championship glory but a string of poor performances has ultimately put an end to that dream. They registered four losses in their last five league games suffering defeats at the hands of Dundalk, UCD, Bohemians and Sporting Fingal.

But it was last week's shock 2-1 loss to Sporting Fingal that sealed their fate -- it gave Bohemians an opportunity to capitalise on the poor form and move into pole position in the league title race.

Their opponents today, St Patrick's Athletic, are ten points off the leaders Bohemians and have only performed marginally better than Rovers in the run-up to this game. They lost three out of their last five matches, falling short against Bohemians, Dundalk and UCD.

Although St Patrick's Athletic lost 1-0 last weekend to the table-toppers, they will go into this game with confidence stemming from the knowledge that their opposition are in a state of disarray.

Their 3-1 victory in the quarter-final of the cup over holders Sporting Fingal courtesy of goals from Ryan Guy, Damian Lynch and Vinny Faherty will add to their optimism.

Despite Rovers being in the grips of a crisis, they still managed a 6-0 win over Dundalk in the quarter-final.

Pat's and Rovers came face to face in the league last month and on that occasion Rovers took the spoils with a 3-1 victory. Ryan Guy was the only scorer for St Pat's in Richmond Park but goals from Gary Twigg, Thomas Stewart and Billy Dennehy secured the points for the Hoops.

St Pat's boss Pete Mahon has made no secret of his desire to win the FAI Cup for the Saints for the first time in 49 years. He made his intentions clear early in the season but today he will have to do so without the injured Gareth Coughlan.

The winner of today's game will face Sligo Rovers in the final, they overcame Bohemians on Friday night in a shock 1-0 victory courtesy of a well placed header from Gavin Peers' on the fifteen minute mark.

Home advantage lies with Rovers with the game kicking off at 3.15pm today at Tallaght Stadium. Both sides will be hungry for silverware and for an opportunity to put on a show in the final at the Aviva Stadium.

Shamrock Rovers v St Patrick's

Athletic, live RTE 2, 3.15

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