Holders St Patrick's Athletic start their defence of the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup with a tricky test against Shamrock Rovers at Richmond Park tonight, kick-off 7.45pm.

Saints boss Liam Buckley must plan without Greg Bolger who is serving a suspension; however, skipper Ger O’Brien could return from a hamstring injury and will face a fitness test before the game.

Speaking ahead of the game, Buckley said: “The cup is very different for us this year as we go into the game as champions.  We all know what it’s like to play in the Aviva Stadium in November and experience that winning feeling so the players will be motivated to get the win Friday and take it from there.”

For Rovers, Danny North is out of the game through injury, after having an operation on his knee yesterday but otherwise manager Pat Fenlon has a full squad to choose from.

"I don't need to explain how much this competition means to Shamrock Rovers, especially to the fans," said Fenlon. "Both sides will see this game as a tough test and it is certainly the tie of the round.

"It should have a big crowd, a good atmosphere and we'll be going out with the sole aim of being in the next round come 9.30pm on Friday night."

Premier Division leaders Dundalk host First Division Shelbourne at Oriel Park (kick-off 7.45pm) and Stephen Kenny’s side, unbeaten so far this season, will have their eyes firmly set on achieving a League and Cup double in 2015.

The sides have already met this season in the EA Sports Cup back in April with Dundalk 1-0 winners at home. John Mountney struck the only goal after 13 minutes to send the Lilywhites through on that occasion.

Brian Gartland remains out for the Lilywhites with a hamstring injury while Stephen O’Donnell is fit following an Achilles tendon problem. Darren Meenan has a groin strain and is a doubt for the tie.

High-flying Cork City go to Ferrycarrig Park to face Wexford Youths (KO 8pm) with Alan Bennett available following a hamstring injury, but Danny Morrissey is ruled out as he continues to recover from an injury sustained in the EA Sports Cup.

John Dunleavy and Kieran Djilali remain sidelined for John Caulfield's side with knee injuries.

The two bottom-placed Premier Division sides Bray Wanderers and Limerick FC go head-to-head at the Carlisle Grounds (KO 7.45pm), with Martin Russell’s Shannonsiders still awaiting their first competitive win of the season.

Russell must decide whether to recall first-choice goalkeeper Conor O’Donnell after Tommy Holland’s impressive showing between the posts in the 1-0 loss at Longford last weekend.

Waterford United boss Roddy Collins travels to Dublin's northside where Leinster Senior League outfit Tolka Rovers await in a potential banana-skin at Frank Cooke Park (KO 7.45pm), while back down the road in Phibsboro Bohemians take on another Leinster Senior League side Firhouse Clover at Dalymount Park (KO 7.45pm).

Meanwhile, Airticity League new boys Cabinteely will begin their FAI Cup adventure with a trip to Premier Division Drogheda United (KO 7.45pm).

In the remaining two ties tonight, Longford Town host First Division leaders Finn Harps (KO 8pm) and Galway United entertain Wexford Junior League winners North End United at Eamon Deacy Park (KO 7.45pm).