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McPhail to start life with Hoops in Setanta Cup clash

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Shamrock Rovers' new signing Stephen McPhail

Shamrock Rovers' new signing Stephen McPhail

SPORTSFILE

Shamrock Rovers' new signing Stephen McPhail

Stephen McPhail is set to make his Shamrock Rovers debut this evening when the Hoops kick off the defence of their Setanta Sports Cup title against Glentoran at Tallaght Stadium (7.45).

The competition goes ahead without reigning Premiership champions Cliftonville and the inaugural winners of the Setanta Cup, Linfield, after both sides declined their invitation to participate in the cup, citing scheduling difficulties with the competition's springtime start.

Rovers go into the game without Karl Sheppard, who has an abdomen injury, while Jason McGuinness is a doubt with a slight ankle problem.

Having made the move to Tallaght from league champions St Patrick's Athletic, Conor Kenna is eager to get his Hoops career off to a positive start this evening.

"A lot of new players have come in and we all want to impress so there's competition for places. The training has been buzzing. I'm looking forward to it," he said.

PROGRESS

Meanwhile, Kenna's former club Pat's make the trip to Fermanagh to take on Ballinamallard United.

Since being beaten in the 2010 final, the Saints have failed to progress past the first round of the competition. Pat's goalkeeper Brendan Clarke wants his side to want to put an end to their poor record.

"We've been unlucky in the competition lately, but we're all really looking forward to the game as that tag of 'All-Ireland champions' would be nice."

Liam Buckley is likely to hand debuts to Derek Foran and Mark Quigley. Sligo Rovers are also in action up north as they face Crusaders. The Bit O'Red are hoping that Sean Maguire's clearance will come in time having arrived on loan from West Ham.

They will however be without Gavin Peers (cruciate ligament) and Kieran Djilali (knee), while Danny North is struggling with a groin problem.

The fourth quarter-final sees Dundalk making their first appearance in the competition in almost four years as Stephen Kenny's side host Coleraine at Oriel Park.

The Lilywhites will again be without Brian Gartland as he recovers from an ankle knock, while Keith Ward is continuing his rehabilitation from a cruciate ligament injury he picked up last season.

New signing Sean Gannon is expected to miss out with a hamstring injury, but Andy Boyle and Chris Shields will feature should they come through late fitness tests.

BALLINAMALLARD UTD V ST PAT'S, LIVE, SETANTA IRELAND, 8.0

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