The opening to the season couldn’t have gone any better for these two teams. Shamrock Rovers won their opening game 2-1 away to Waterford with the last kick of the ball on the night; they then followed it up with a fine 2-0 win at home to Derry City.
Dylan Watts opened the scoring followed by a former Candystripe man coming back to haunt his old team in the name of Aaron McEneff, causally doing a Panenka down the middle of the goal from the spot.
Bohs started the season with a 1-0 win at home to Finn Harps with Dinny Corcoran scoring the only goal of the night in front a back Dalymount Park crowd.
They then backed it up with a solid 2-0 away win in the UCD Bowl. Daniel Mandroiu opened the scoring with a rasper of a strike from the guts of 30 yards, leaving the UCD goalkeeper with no chance. Three minutes later, Dinny Corcoran scored Bohs second goal to leave UCD with a mountain to climb in the second-half, which proved too stiff of a test.
This match is going to be played at a frantic pace in front of packed home/away ends in Dalymount Park with no love lost between both sets of teams.
It’s the first Dublin Derby of the season and, if it’s anything like the last four games in the league between them last year, the crowd are in for one hell of a treat.
The four games last season produced eleven goals, with Bohs coming away with three wins and a draw, so all the bragging rights stayed in Phibsborough for another year.
Rovers are a team out to stamp their authority on the league this season and are trying to get back to where they belong and that’s challenging for league titles, which has become a difficult task lately for them.
They signed well in the off season, adding good experience to their team, Aaron McEneff and Jack Byrne being two vital additions to their midfield.
Keith Long and Bohs will be hoping the home crowd will spur them on and get right behind this Bohs team in the push to get another win over their massive rivals Shamrock Rovers.
This game won’t be for the faint-hearted as it will be hard hitting, with plenty of gearing on from the terraces, but all and all, should be one of the games of the season even if it is so early in the campaign.
With there being a proper derby feel to this, there could be plenty of cards dished out; there will be a lot of passion, on and off the field. It’s a real shame that TV stations across Ireland haven’t picked up the game because, if you are a neutral just sitting on the fence you are certain to miss out on a great game between two good teams.
The game sold out weeks ago and, going by social media over the last number of days and weeks, plenty of loyal fans have lost out on tickets to the game which is a real shame.
This is where TV coverage needs to be a key factor for this league if people are to take it seriously. More promotion is needed from the broadcasters.
Bohs are going into the game with Michael Barker (hamstring) Promise Omchere (ankle) both being doubtful, while Cristian Magerusan will be remaining on the side-line with a cruciate injury.
Shamrock Rovers seem to have a full team going into this game with no injury concerns
This game won’t be shy on goals, that’s for sure, if it’s anything like last season’s games, with both teams aiming to outdo each other for the whole 90 minutes and try and get the bragging rights until the next time they meet.
Rovers look a real force this season and I can see them having just that bit of edge over this young-enough Bohs team.
Bohs won’t be a team to roll over on the night, but if Stephen Bradley and his Shamrock Rovers team can get an early goal on the night, they could prove to be a hard nut to crack for Bohs.
I’m going to go with Shamrock Rovers to win on the night, but it will be a hard-fought victory that will show they are on the rise back to the top of Irish football and challenging the top guns of the last number of seasons.
Shamrock Rovers 2-1 @ 9/1