Sligo Rovers -v- ShelbourneThu, May 17 2012
League leaders Sligo Rovers begin their second series of games at home to fifth-placed Shelbourne on Friday evening.
The first time these two sides played each other, which was on the opening night of the new League season, was a dramatic encounter. Minutes after Philly Hughes gave Shels a 1-0 lead with a cracking free-kick, Mark Quigley was shown a straight red card just before half-time, a decision which shortly after saw him hit with a six game ban. As the game went on, Rovers were looking more likely to get an equaliser, and in the 93rd minute Jason mcGuinness popped up to head past Dean Delany to secure a late point for the away side.
Joseph Ndo is Ian Baraclough's only absentee for this game. The Cameroon International is still struggling with an injury picked up against St. Patrick's Athletic. He is expected to be out for around two more weeks and will see a hamstring specialist in the meantime.
Speaking to sligorovers.com, Ian Baraclough feels Shelbourne is the toughest team his side could possibly face coming off the back of a big win last weekend.
"We've got a group of lads that are fully-focused long term and in it for the long haul. We have the beginning of a new series of matches now and we have set a standard in the first 11 games. If we don't a similar return in the second series of game we'll know we didn't reach the level that we can.
"I have seen Shelbourne a couple of time and it is probably the hardest test we get after the win last week. They'll be organised, hard-working and they have match winners in their team.
"Joseph will see a specialist and he will probably be out for a couple of weeks. Apart from that we are at full-strength."
Shelbourne go into this game on the back of two consecutive League victories and if other results go their way, they could jump into third place with a victory tomorrow evening.
Shels will be pleased with their most recent victory, a 2-0 win away to UCD, having beaten one of the League's best passing sides with ten men after seeing Sean Byrne dismissed early in the first-half.
Speaking to ShelsTV.com, Alan Mathews expressed his delight with the victory.
“It was something we had spoken about during the week – to press them early and high. There was long time to play after that and we always knew it would be difficult.”
“The performance was magnificent from start to finish. To defend so well, after losing a player, for so long against one of the best passing teams in the league, was very pleasing. Then to get a second goal, to finish the game off, was a really good performance and a brilliant result”.
Mathews will be with Sean Byrne who is suspended after his sending off against UCD, while Lorcan Fitzgerald and Stephen Hurley will be out for weeks as they recover from long-term injuries.
Referee: Paul Tuite.
This will be Shelbourne's first time to play in The Showgrounds since November 2006. A game the away side won courtesy of goals from Stuart Byrne and Adam Hughes (OG).
Joseph Ndo and Anto Murphy are the only players in the current squad of their respective squads to play for both sides. Ndo featured for Shels from 2004 until 2006, while Murphy played for The Bit O'Red in 2008.
Shelbourne have struggled to find goals on the road, scoring just five so far this season, while Sligo Rovers have scored 11 at home already this season and conceded just three.
Sligo Rovers 8/15 ; Draw 11/4 ; 5/1.
Sligo Rovers 2-1 Shelbourne.
Sligo Rovers Injury News: Joseph Ndo.
Sligo Rovers Suspension News: None.
Shelbourne Injury News: Lorcan Fitzgerald and Stephen Hurley.
Away Suspension News: Sean Byrne.
Alan Finn is a Sligo based reporter who joined the Extratime crew in 2012. If there is a match on in The Showgrounds, it is likely you will find him there.