Rovers all poised to ignite Europa League campaign

By Hayden Moore

SHAMROCK Rovers ignite, what they hope will be, a strong UEFA Europa League Cup run when they travel to the home of SK Brann in Norway tonight.

The Hoops will be aiming to improve on last season’s showing in the competition when they were edged out 2-1 on aggregate by AIK at this very stage.

Stephen Bradley 1

Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley will be hoping his side can bring home a positve result from Norway tonight

Indeed Stephen Bradley will be hoping his side can emulate the run enjoyed by Rovers in 2011 when they made it to the Europa League Group stages under then manager Michael O’Neill.

That marked the first time an Irish club had reached the group stages of a major European competition and Bradley will be aiming to begin replicating that feat tonight in Norway.

Despite amassing 15 wins in 24 games so far this year, the Tallaght outfit have struggled to find a consistent run of form in recent weeks and have only won once in their last five games, leaving them eight points adrift of league leaders Dundalk.

Bradley’s men had the major opportunity to make up ground last Friday night when the Lilywhites dropped points for the first time since May in a 2-2 draw with Derry, but they themselves had to settle for a share of the spoils in a disappointing scoreless draw with Sligo.

SK Brann find themselves in a similar position to Rovers in terms of points off the summit albeit they are in fifth place overall.

With 15 games played, they have a 40 percent win rate but in contrast the Hoops have won 62.5 percent of their encounters in the league.

Kick-off is 8pm with the return leg taking place this day week, Thursday, July 18 in Tallaght Stadium at the same time.

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