Preview: Shamrock Rovers vs. University College Dublin

Preview: Shamrock Rovers vs. University College Dublin

Shamrock Rovers will attempt to strengthen their lead at the top of the League of Ireland Premier Division when they play host to University College Dublin on Friday night.

Top will be meeting bottom in the standings with the visitors already as many as 14 points adrift of a relegation playoff place.

Having recently put together a 13-match undefeated streak, it appeared that Shamrock Rovers may eventually canter to the league title, that period also including a run of nine wins in 10 outings.

However, the defending champions have realised that complacency cannot set in, with defeats to Drogheda United and Cork City following in quick succession.

The Hoops have since responded with victories and clean sheets against Dundalk and Sligo Rovers, yet they now sit just four points clear of the chasing pack.

Fortunately for Stephen Bradley’s side, their nearest rivals have struggled for consistency, and the perception is that they effectively have a free pass to at least maintain their lead in first position.

In the previous two meetings with UCD during the 2023 campaign, Shamrock have recorded wins in each fixture, scored five goals and kept two clean sheets in the process.

There was a period in April when UCD looked like they were building some momentum, accumulating five points from as many matches to give themselves some hope.

Since then, Andrew Myler’s side have lost seven games in succession, shipping as many as 20 goals during that period to leave relegation already a near certainty barring a miracle revival.

With 17 encounters still remaining, it would be unfair to completely write off UCD, yet this is a side who have netted just 11 times in 20 contests.

While at least three goals have been conceded in their last four fixtures, the solitary positive is that one strike has been netted at the other end.

Shamrock Rovers League of Ireland Premier form:

University College Dublin League of Ireland Premier form:

We say: Shamrock Rovers 4-0 University College Dublin
Although Shamrock have slipped up on a couple of occasions of late, this should be a breeze for the home side. The visitors have not conceded fewer than three goals in their recent matches, and we expect that unwanted streak to continue here.

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