Rovers and Pat’s return to league with huge ties

By Stephen Leonard

MASSIVE games greet both Shamrock Rovers and St Patrick’s Athletic on their return to Airtricity League action tomorrow night (Friday).

While the Hoops play host to second place Cork City in Tallaght Stadium, St Pat’s travel to Oriel Park for a clash with defending champions and current Premier leaders Dundalk.

Rover  Pats collage June 23

It was a contrary finish to the first half of the season for the Dublin rivals with Rovers having beaten Pat’s 2-0 at Richmond Park less than a week after the Inchicore side had suffered a 5-1 drubbing at the hands of Bohemians.

For Liam Buckley’s men, the break may prove to be a godsend as they look to work their way back into the European berths over the course of the next four months.

Indeed they have slipped to fifth place in the table, trailing Dundalk by 14 points having played a game more.

While Rovers did sign off before the mid-season break with an important win over their near neigh-bours, they have been struggling to garner much momentum having dropp-ed two points at home to Finn Harps in their previous fixture.

And Pat Fenlon’s side will be entertaining a Cork City outfit that has every reason to be brimming with confidence having won every one of their last six games which included, most recently, a 1-0 triumph over Dundalk- only a second loss in the league for Stephen Kenny’s troops this season.

What’s more, Rovers also suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of the Leesiders in what was a very difficult April in which they lost to all of the three top sides at the time.

Fenlon will hope he has steadied the ship since then and reversing the tables on Cork tomorrow night would see them close the gap on the second place side to five points.

Certainly both Rovers and Pat’s, who meet in the EA Sports Cup semi finals in August, could do with going on long good runs, starting with wins over two of the most impressive outfits in recent seasons.

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