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O'Neill to look into Rovers penalty 'curse'

MICHAEL O'NEILL is beginning to wonder if there's a penalty-kick curse on his side after Shamrock Rovers missed from the spot yet again.

Rovers famously lost the FAI Cup final last season in a penalty shoot-out with Sligo Rovers, and overall the Hoops' record in penalties is patchy.

Bizarrely most of the misses from Rovers have come at the same end of the ground at Tallaght Stadium -- not a problem for other clubs as Jason Byrne scored from the spot for Dundalk against Rovers at the same end on the opening day of the season.

"Obviously he's a very competent penalty taker, it was a good save to be fair," said O'Neill of Gary McCabe's miss from the spot for Rovers against St Pats on Friday, a game Rovers still won 2-0 to move clear of second-placed Bohemians.

"They have happened at that end of the ground as well. I don't know who is under the ground at that end of the stadium. There might be something down there that they've done. We'll address that in a separate matter.

"Gary stepped up and to be fair, he made good contact but the goalkeeper saved it. It would have made it more comfortable for us."

Next up for Rovers is a Setanta Cup meeting with Lisburn Distillery tomorrow night and, as the Hoops hold a 3-0 lead from the away leg, even Lisburn boss Tommy Wright has conceded that the tie is over.

Of more concern to Rovers is their next league game, away to Derry City next Friday night.

"It's a tough game," says O'Neill. "I think it's good that we have Derry back in the division, the Brandywell is a great place to go and play.

"There's a big crowd, a good atmosphere there, I saw Derry there last week against UCD, they're a youngish side but with good experience and good players in key areas, we expect a tough game, equally it's nice to go up there in a good position."