Monday, September 26, 2011

Shamrock Rovers Coming to White Hart Lane

Tottenham's second Europa League game in the Group stages pits them against League of Ireland Champions, Shamrock Rovers.  This will be the third time that Spurs have met opposition from the Republic of Ireland in a European competition but the first time that they have played against the Dublin side.

Europa League: Tottenham v  Shamrock Rovers

Shamrock Rovers are the first team from the Irish Republic to reach the Group stage in any European competition.  They reached this stage of the Europa League through qualification for the Champions League and defeated Flora of Estonia in the 2nd Qualifying Round.  a 1 - 0 win at their Tallaght Stadium in Dublin was followed by a scoreless draw in the away leg.  In the next round they faced Kobenhavn (Denmark) but lost both matches to be eliminated 0 - 3 on aggregate.  They lost by a single goal in the first leg in Copenhagen and were defeated by two goals at home.

They dropped into the Europa League and a tough draw against experienced side, Partizan Belgrade.  the first match ended 1 - 1 in Dublin but a magnificent performance in the second leg saw Rovers come from behind to qualify, after extra time, for the Group stages with a 3 - 2 aggregate win.  They were a goal down at half-time in Belgrade but full-back Pat Sullivan equalised early in the second half.  The game went to extra time and with seven minutes remaining Stephen O'Donnell scored the historic winner.

Their first Group A match was at home to Rubin Kazan.  A goal from Obafemi Martins after three minutes gave Rubin the initiative which they held throughout.  Ryan Thompson saved a first half penalty but Rubin scored twice inside the first fifteen minutes of the second half.  Immediately after the third goal, Rovers missed a penalty, the hero of the previous round, O'Donnell, being the culprit when his penalty was saved.  Rohan Ricketts, formerly of Spurs, who signed for Rovers at the end of the transfer window played in the match, having made his debut at the beginning of September in the away win at Dundalk.

The League of Ireland started in February and runs through to the end of October with Shamrock Rovers currently in second place, level with leaders, Sligo Rovers, but with one game in hand.  They won on Sunday, a convincing 5 - 2 home win over Bray Wanderers.  Coming from a goal down, Ricketts scored his first goal for the club with Gary McCabe scoring two and the others coming from Ronan Finn and Gary Twigg.

Shamrock Rovers are managed by Michael O'Neill who played for Newcastle United at the same time as Paul Gascoigne.  He also played for Dundee United, Hibernian and Wigan Athletic.  He was a Northern Ireland international winning 33 caps.  When he retired he turned to management at Brechin City and went to Shamrock Rovers in 2008.

The assistant manager is Jim Magilton who made 52 appearances for Northern Ireland and played for Oxford United, Southampton, Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich Town.  He has management experience at Ipswich and Q.P.R.

Most of the Shamrock Rovers squad are from the Airtricity League although some have had experience in both Scotland or England and some were juniors with English clubs.  Ricketts is one of four new signings made after qualifying for the Europa League group stages.

Goal keeper, Ryan Thompson is a Jamaican international who has played in America.
Jim Patterson is an experienced defender who has played for Dundee United and Plymouth Argyle.  Defender, Craig Sives has played for a number of Scottish clubs.
Striker, Gary Twigg joined O'Neill at Shamrock Rovers from his former club Brechin City.
Conor McCormick was an apprentice at Old  Trafford before going to Italy.
Stephen O'Donnell was at Arsenal before going to clubs in Scotland.


No comments:

Post a Comment