Shelbourne - Finn Harps

After 18 rounds passed, Shelbourne hold the first place with two points more than the chasers Waterford and UCD Dublin. Team definitely has enough quality for direct promotion (first place, only), while main sponsor “Cab 2000” gives them financial security. Home record (on the road, also) is impressive. Seven wins from nine games, with just one draw (Longford Town 2-2) and one defeat (UCD Dublin 1-3). Players have on their mind painful memories from last season, when they lost promotion by conceding a 93rd minute goal on the final day of the season. So, I don’t expect any kind of relaxation or loosing the focus, till the end. In the previous round, they played only a draw against Athlone Town, on the road. After leading by two goals after 30 mins, skipper (and key defender) Damien Brennan was red carded just before half time and the pressure of playing with a man short took it’s toll with the home side getting one back on 79mins and the equaliser deep into stoppage time. For tonight’s game, the Reds will have to plan without the suspended Brennan and also without the injured defensive trio of Stephen Quigley, Kevin Doherty and Alan Keely. Into the reckoning come two new signings Robert Douglas (signed from Crumlin United) and Ray Scully (formerly of Waterford United)

After they spent a year at the Premier Division, Harps were relegated. Budgetary cuts that caused many players had to leave, judged club to being in the middle of the second league. Team won only 19 points from 18 games played and although they’re safe from relegation, they’re also safe from any idea about promotion, as third UCD Dublin have 42 points on their balance. Their away record doesn’t promise anything good for tonight’s game. Six draws and three defeats from nine games and not a single win. At the previous round, Harps suffered a heavy defeat at RSC stadium against second placed Waterford Utd.. Team resisted full 70 minutes, but in last 20 got four hits and 0-4 at the end. Boss James Gallagher has a problem in the center of his defence for today’s trip to Tolka Park. Packie Mailey, who was sent off in Waterford, sits out the through suspension while other central defender, Johnny Havlin is still injured. Sean Houston (another defender) misses out again, while forward Conor Gethins is long time injured. Midfielder Christy Conaghan, who missed the last three games, could return.

Shelbourne is always the big favorite at Tolka Park, but tonight will have to cope with missing of four players in defence. Probably will try to cover the hole with attacks. Harps don’t need any problem to be outsider against tonight’s opponent, but also have damaged defence line. I think the home win isn’t so safe as bookies try to explain with odds around 1.30 and can not say I’m smelling surprise, but see bet on goals as much better bet. Bookie Mybet offer 1.80. Over.


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