Preview: Shamrock Rovers vs. Bohemians – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Friday’s League of Ireland Premier clash between Shamrock Rovers and Bohemians, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Shamrock Rovers will aim to extend their lead at the top of the League of Ireland Premier Division table on Friday, when they welcome rivals Bohemians for a Dublin derby.

A defeat to second-placed Dundalk last time out saw the hosts’ advantage reduced to five points, while their visitors climbed back to sixth spot thanks to a win over Shelbourne.

Match preview

Shamrock Rovers headed into the new campaign looking for a third straight Irish top-flight title, and they established a strong lead after the halfway stage with 39 points from their opening 17 games, having won 13 of those and only lost twice.

They have since had to deal with a slightly tougher run in recent weeks, though, with a strong run of form firstly put on hold by a 1-0 defeat away at Drogheda United.

The Hoops were able to bounce back with a 2-0 win at home to Shelbourne, thanks to goals from Richie Towell and Rory Gaffney, before heading into an important clash with an in-form Dundalk side who has moved within eight points of the top spot.

That gap was then further reduced as Stephen Bradley‘s side fell just short in their trip to Oriel Park, with Robbie Benson hitting the only goal of the game to send Shamrock Rovers home empty-handed.

While they remain five points ahead of the closest chasing side, Dundalk hold a game in hand, and, with 16 league games left to play, the Hoops will be desperate to return to their best and build another winning run to increase their cushion at the summit of the division.

Bohemians, meanwhile, will make the short trip aiming to harm their rivals’ title bid and build on a win of their own last time out.

After third, second and fifth-placed finishes in the last three seasons, Bohs may have been left disappointed by their first half to the new campaign, as they sat seventh in the League of Ireland Premier Division with just five wins and 22 points from their opening 17 outings.

Following a 3-0 thrashing at the hands of St Patrick’s Athletic, Keith Long‘s side were again left disappointed as they had to settle for a point at home to eighth-placed Drogheda United, with Dean Williams pegging them back in the 84th minute after Jordan Flores had given his team a 1-0 lead on the stroke of half time.

They were, at least, able to leapfrog Shelbourne with an important victory last time out, though, as they held out for the final 35 minutes with 10 men after Ciaran Kelly‘s red card, with a 13th-minute goal from Dawson Devoy being the difference between the teams.

Having now jumped back up to sixth spot, and boasting a game in hand on fifth-placed Sligo Rovers who sit two points ahead, Bohemians will aim for a second straight win in Friday’s Dublin derby to boost their chances of climbing into the top half.

Shamrock Rovers League of Ireland Premier form:

Shamrock Rovers form (all competitions):

Bohemians League of Ireland Premier form:

Team News

Shamrock Rovers head into Friday’s game without midfielder Ronan Finn, who will serve a suspension after he was sent off in their recent defeat to Dundalk.

However, they will welcome key attacker Graham Burke back from a suspension of his own, with the 28-year-old bound to feature having netted seven league goals so far this season.

Rory Gaffney and Daniel Mandroiu should complete a threatening front three, while former Brighton & Hove Albion and Rotherham United man Richie Towell brings plenty of quality in midfield.

Bohemians also have an enforced absence to deal with, after centre-back Ciaran Kelly was shown a red card in their recent clash with Shelbourne.

James Finnerty came on following his dismissal, and he is likely to feature from the outset on Friday alongside Jordan Doherty.

Young midfielder Dawson Devoy will continue to be a threat going forward, having now scored six goals in his last 11 league appearances.

Shamrock Rovers possible starting lineup:
Mannus; Hoare, Lopes, Grace; Cotter, Towell, O’Neill, Kavanagh; Gaffney, Burke, Mandroiu

Bohemians possible starting lineup:
Ryan; Murphy, Doherty, Finnerty, Flores; Coote, Devoy, Levingston; Burt, Ogedi-Uzokwe, Omochere

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We say: Shamrock Rovers 2-1 Bohemians

In a hotly-contested derby, Shamrock Rovers will be boosted by home advantage, and, with the incentive of staying clear of Dundalk, we back them to return to winning ways against their Dublin rivals.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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