Friday, September 09, 2011


In the Irish Premier League leaders Shamrock Rovers entertain Sligo who still hold title hopes of their own. Rovers are the best team in Ireland, I have little doubt of that and they believe it too, any doubts were wiped out in the last fortnight with a famous win at Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League and a 6-0 cup win over UCD when they were without nine players ! That has given them an horrendous fixture schedule, but they are not complaining and strengthened the squad in the transfer window adding Rohan Ricketts who has EPL experience and Jim Paterson with over 300 SPL and Championship games under his belt, massive additions to an already strong squad, with a couple of players being closely watched by EPL scouts. Rovers play another key league fixture at St Patrick's on Monday, at home to Rubin Kazan on Thursday and an Irish Cup quarter final next weekend !

They could open up a five point lead at the top tonight and effectively kill off a major rival in the process, the bonus is that will give them some breathing space with the schedule and I think they will be going all guns blazing for the points.They are without 3-4 players tonight and key player Billy Dennehy also looks doubtful, but they have plenty of options and hungry alternatives looking to get in and maybe hold on to a place for the huge games with Rubin and Tottenham this month. Rovers are unbeaten in 13 home starts in this series and are 10-3-2 against Sligo under coach Michael O'Neill, who has the extra incentive of this being his 100th match in charge tonight. Home win. Shamrock Rovers -0.5 ball 2.00 + asian line.

In New York no bet for me, but I do expect Andy Murray to see off John Isner in double quick time. The giant american has yet to take a set off Murray in two meetings and in their Australian Open meeting last year, never looked like breaking the British player's serve. This is Isner's first grand slam quarter final and he is bound to be nervous, Murray will get him running and try to take the pace off the ball, Isner knows that ( see the question from yesterday's post match interview below), but dealing with it is quite another matter. The american really rode his luck at times in his four set defeat of Gilles Simon, with the frenchman breaking serve five times and Isner winning three tie breaks, if Isner gives Murray half as many chances, this will be over very quickly.

Q. Could you elaborate on that as far as the difference in your style and Andy's and the challenge of playing him?

JOHN ISNER: Yeah, you know, I played Andy -- I played him in the Australia Open in 2010, and, you know, he beat me pretty easily, because he -- a lot of times, he -- you know, he did against me that time. He would kind of take the air out of the ball and hit a lot of short angles and got me moving. You know, he kinda just was going body blow after body blow against me out there, because he was just not really hitting the ball that hard but and definitely moving me around. I'm going to have to change a couple things up. You know, he's one of the best returners in the game, so I'm going to have to serve my best. When I do get my chances on the return, I will have to take 'em.

Good Luck.

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