CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUALIFYING FIRST ROUND SECOND LEG
Hibernians (0) v Shamrock Rovers (3), Centenary Stadium, Ta'Qali, 7pm
There's live coverage on the RTÉ News channel, with commentary from John Kenny, from 6.55pm. The RTÉ News Channel is available on:
- Saorview - Channel 21
- Virgin Media - Channel 200
- Sky - Channel 521
- Eir - Channel 517
You can also watch it on the RTÉ News app or the RTÉ Player here.
We'll have a live match tracker on rte.ie/sport, the RTÉ News app, as well as updates and goals on RTÉ Soccer Twitter and RTÉ Sport Facebook.
It'll be baking hot - around 33 degrees Celsius in the day time - so it's lucky that the travellling Hoops got the opportunity to acclimatise over the weekend in Costa del Dublin. Temperatures will dip come kick-off time, but not by much. It's expected to be around 29 degrees Celcius at 8pm.
Bradley's charges looking to finish the job
Rory Gaffney hogged the headlines after last week's first leg in Tallaght. The tireless attacker made two and scored the other as the hosts buried the visitors 3-0 to leave themselves firmly in control of the tie.
Gaffney was terrific on the night, but he can count himself lucky not to have seen red after he caught Gabriel Artiles in the face with a careless kick in the 70th minute.
"I definitely caught him, but I didn't mean to catch him," the Tuam native argued afterwards. "I think I caught him on the chin or something, but it was accidental."
That's not how Hibernians saw it, and they'll no doubt use the sense of injustice to try and fire themselves up for what looks like an impossible mission.
It's almost exactly 20 years since the Maltese champions knocked Shels out of Europe 3-2 on aggregate. But if they were to turn this one around, it would surely rank as their finest ever achievement.
Manager Stephen Bradley has been warning against complacency all week and pointed to the issues Hibernians' more direct approach in the second half caused his team as he predicted a far tougher game in the return leg.
Realistically though, there should be no serious problems for the reigning Premier Division champions on Tuesday night. Should they progress, they are likely to meet Bulgarian club Ludogorets in the next round. They are 2-0 up on FK Sutjeska Niksic of Montenegro after their first leg.
Byrne & Burke back in fold, new boss in for Hibernians
Danny Mandroiu moved across the water to Lincoln City last Thursday, but the return of two Republic of Ireland internationals softens the blow for Hoops fans.
Jack Byrne and Graham Burke missed the first leg with injuries. However they have flown to Malta and will be expected to feature in some capacity.
Rovers departed from Shannon Airport on Monday after Dublin and Belfast airports were unable to accommodate their chartered flight. "It was great," said Bradley. "No issues in the airport, they looked after us really well.
"We obviously had an issue with Dublin airport, they couldn't staff the plane, so we tried Belfast but we ended up through Shannon. The flight was good, we stopped in Paris for refuelling and then straight over here. It was a good day, no issues at all."
Things have been a little rockier for Hibernians this week. Manager Stefano Sanderra, who signed a new two-year deal in May, has left to oversee Lazio's youth section.
Andrea Pisanu replaces his fellow Italian. He played for, and then coached, Maltese outfit Sliema Wanderers so has a decent knowledge of the domestic game there. His first game at the helm could hardly be tougher though.
Analyst's view - Control is the name of the game
Speaking on the RTÉ Soccer podcast, Paul Corry said: "Rory Gaffney got away with one but I think on the night Shamrock Rovers were very good, particularly in the first half. We don't see many Irish teams control the ball the way they did, and control the tempo of the game. Gary O'Neill, Chris McCann and Dylan Watts were excellent in the middle of the pitch.
"I wouldn't expect them to come out of their shell too much in the second leg. There were times in the (first-leg) second half where they looked a bit too open for me. I think if it was a stronger opposition they would have been pegged back.
"I think Stephen Bradley will be happy enough for them to just stay in their shape, frustrate Hibernians and potentially look to hit them on the counter-attack."
Watch Hibernians v Shamrock Rovers in the Champions League first qualifying round live on RTÉ News channel and RTÉ Player on Tuesday, kick-off 7pm. Follow live blog on RTÉ News app and on rte.ie/sport.