Airtricity League Preview-Sligo Look To Keep Ahead Of Chasing Pack
After a slow start to the Airtricity League, Bohemians have now won two games in row having survived a late scare to narrowly defeat UCD 2-1 at the Belfield Bowl last Friday night thanks to goals from Keith Ward and Dinny Corcoran. The win brings Bohs up to eight and eases the early season pressure on manager Aaron Callaghan.
Bohemians will fancy their chances against bottom side Monaghan United who succumbed to a heavy 6-0 defeat at the hands of Cork City at Turners Cross. Monaghan remain without a win this season having lost five and drawn two. Roddy Collins and his side know that they face a tough prospect of going to Dalymount Park and facing a rejuvenated Bohemians side.
Prediction: Bohs to win comfortably
Bray Wanderers –vs. – Shamrock Rovers 7:45
Second from top against second from bottom. After the heavy defeat to St. Patrick’s Athletic, Shamrock Rovers came back with style, inflicting a heavy 6 nil rout upon Dundalk thanks to goals from Chris Turner, Billy Dennehy, Daryl Kavanagh and a hat-trick from main man Gary Twigg.
But could the defeat on Monday at the hands of Derry City in the Setanta Cup damage their confidence or give them another point to prove? Bray can consider themselves unfortunate that they didn’t get anything out of the 2 – 1 defeat to Shelbourne, Jason Byrne getting the solitary goal for the Seagulls on the night. Bray, second from bottom on four points and one win so far this season, need another and given the fact that they beat Rover 1 – 0 in this fixture last year, Bray will feel they could cause problems for the reigning champions.
Prediction: Shamrock Rovers win
Cork City –vs. – Sligo Rovers 7:45
Cork City recorded their first three points of the season, an emphatic 6 – 0 win against Monaghan United last Friday, with goals coming from Daryl Horgan, Vincent Sullivan, Tadgh Purcell and a hat-trick from Davin O’Neill. But even with the home advantage, they face an uphill battle against undefeated league leaders Sligo Rovers.
Sligo only drew at home to Derry City last week, Danny North getting their only goal. But with five wins in seven Ian Baraclough and his men will be expecting to make it six out of eight. Cork’s confidence is high and they will make sure that the early league leaders face a tough game at Turners Cross.
Prediction: Sligo to grind out a win
Drogheda United –vs. – Shelbourne 7:45
After a hard fought 0 – 0 with St. Patrick’s Athletic at Hunky Dory’s Park, Drogheda United face a potentially tricky tie with Shelbourne. Mick Cooke’s men have started the season brightly winning four, drawing two and suffering only one defeat, a huge improvement of their form in previous years, which usually left them, hovering at the bottom of the table.
Shelbourne have adapted well on their return to the top flight. Three wins, three draws and one defeat is a good return for the recently promoted side with the Tolka Park faithful enjoying life in the Airtricity League. A 2 -1 victory over Bray Wanderers left manager Alan Matthews pleased but aware improvement is needed “ We played well in the last half hour of the game and got the win but on another night it could have been different.” The result however, see’s Shels in form going into what could be a hard fought game.
Prediction: Hard Fought Draw
Derry City –vs. – Dundalk 7:45
After a hard fought draw with league leaders Sligo Rovers and a 3 – 0 victory over Shamrock Rovers in the Setanta Cup semi-final first leg, The Candystripes host Dundalk at the Brandywell. A David McDaid penalty was enough to secure a point at the Showgrounds last week and given that Dundalk are susceptible in defence and Derry recorded a 2 – 0 over their opponents last season, Declan Devine will organise his team to attack from the start.
Dundalk suffered an emphatic 6 – 0 defeat last week courtesy of Shamrock Rovers at the Tallaght Stadium. Sean McCaffrey will expect a big reaction from his side Friday night conscious of the fact that another defeat could end up leaving them in the relegation zone.
Prediction: Derry overcome Dundalk in a very hard fought victory
St. Patrick’s Athletic –vs. – UCD 7:45
After an emphatic 5 – 1 victory over current Champions Shamrock Rover’s, St. Patricks Athletic failed to capitalize on that victory, having to settle for a 0 – 0 draw with a much improved Drogheda United. Pats have started well this season only one of two sides still undefeated, winning three and drawing four. Pats have been here before, starting the season well but suffering towards the tail end. Manager Liam Buckley faces a tough task ahead of him in order the change that consistency. But Pat’s and skipper Connor Kenna are confident of getting a positive result “While UCD will be tough opponents, we’re looking to bounce back with three points. We kept another clean sheet against Drogheda, so if we can push on, hopefully we’ll get the win.”
Coming off a 2 – 1 home defeat to Bohemians last week, UCD will have a point to prove heading in Richmond Park. The Students currently sit in mid-table after winning two, drawing one and losing four of their first seven fixtures. Manager Martin Russell will hope to improve on their eight place finish last week and history shows the games with Pats are always tight edgy affairs that in recent years UCD have managed to come out the victors.