Setanta Cup Preview: Shamrock Rovers
It wasn't until 2011 that Shamrock Rovers were first acquainted with the Setanta Sports Cup, but in their inaugural tryst they duly blitzed the opposition on the way to lifting the trophy. They triumphed in all five games, scoring 13 goals along the way with the concession of only three.
Their second outing in the competition proved less satisfying. Having successfully navigated the quarter finals with a penalty win over Cliftonville, a disastrous 3-0 home defeat to Derry City was a mountain too high to climb for the Hoops.
The off-season has been one of much change around Tallaght Stadium. Firstly, new manager Trevor Croly arrived from St Patrick’s Athletic and then began the conveyor belt of top class signings.
The Sligo Rovers trio of Mark Quigley, Jason McGuinness and Richard Brush signed on for the Dublin club whilst three more players joined from St. Patrick's Athletic - James Chambers, Sean O’Connor and Barry Murphy.
The Hoops face Coleraine in their opening fixture on Monday 11th February and they will be buoyed by the fact the Irish Premiership side has been shipping goals of late. Three of their last five games has seen the concession of five goals, with their only win in five coming against bottom of the table team Lisburn Distillery.
Shamrock Rovers are joint favourites with the bookies alongside Sligo Rovers at odds of 9/2.
Extratime.ie One to Watch: Mark Quigley. The Dubliner has returned to the capital after scoring the league winning penalty for Sligo last season. Quigley is the second top scorer in Setanta Cup history with nine, behind Denis Behan and Peter Thompson who are joint first with eleven.
Damien Byrne joined the Extratime.ie team for the 2012 season. He is a Dublin based freelance reporter who is partial to a Friday in Richmond Park, and can be contacted at email@example.com or on twitter at @damienbyrne92