League of Ireland Weekly Preview

We’re coming towards the end of an extremely busy week of League of Ireland football.

This weekend all 10 Premier Division clubs will line out for their third game in the space of a week. Plus, we’ve a full fixture list of First Division matches, to get the cat excited.

So, let’s get straight in without any messing about, and see what we can potential look forward to over the next couple of days.

Friday, 23rd of April 2021

Premier Division

Finn Harps vs St. Patrick’s Athletic

Venue – Finn Park

Kick Off – 5.45 pm

Odds – Home 16/5 Draw 23/10 Away 4/5

Watch On – WatchLOI

Harps fancied to avoid the drop - and escape the relegation play-offs -  DonegalLive.ie

We kick off the weekend schedule with a tough tie between two teams that have really hit the ground running.

Finn Harps have excited the Ballybofey masses with their impressive start to the season. Saying that, they’re coming off a defeat, and a draw on Tuesday with Longford Town.

While a draw at Bishopsgate isn’t a terrible result for Harps, they did squander half decent chances on the night. Which was strange for them this season, considering Adam Foley has already netted four goals this season.

The omens from last season will be in favour of the Donegal side. Pats arrived at Finn Park twice last year. Once in the cup, and once in the league. With Finn Harps winning on both occasions.

However, this is a different St. Patrick’s Athletic side. They’ve got off to an unbeaten start, sitting joint top of the table.

The discipline, fitness and shape of the side has been an absolute revelation to see from a Pats point of view.

The Saints are coming off a professional display against Waterford. While the results have been fantastic, I think the Pats faithful would agree that a killer instinct at the end of all the steady possession would really take them up to another level.

Prediction – Tight St. Pats win.

Shamrock Rovers vs Bohemians

Venue – Tallaght Stadium

Kick Off – 7.45 pm

Odds – Home 8/15 Draw 27/10 Away 9/2

Watch On – RTE 2/WatchLOI

In Pictures: Bohs Vs Shamrock Rovers Dublin Derby At Dalymount | Balls.ie

The big Dublin derby is the real marquee fixture this weekend.

Again, it’s just a crying shame that fans still can’t be inside the ground. It’s safe to say these are the games that miss supporters the most.

Rovers have shown some real title winning luck over the past two games. On paper, you would imagine Longford and Drogheda wouldn’t pose much of a threat, but the champions had to rely on two late winning goals on both instances.

On the North side of Dublin, it’s been a patchy start for Bohemians to say the least. Badly beaten on Tuesday to potential title contenders, Sligo Rovers. A win in that game would have seen Bohs win three games on the bounce.

Now, they’ve only won twice from their opening six games. Coming up against their bitter rivals who are really starting to get into a good rhythm, in terms of performances and results.

Prediction – Hard to look past Rovers at home.

First Division

Galway United vs UCD

Venue – Eamonn Deacy Park

Kick Off – 7.45 pm

Odds – Home 6/5 Draw 21/10 Away 2/1

Watch On – LOITV

MATCH REPORT | Galway United 3-1 Sligo Rovers

Galway have been extremely underwhelming, so far this season.

Away from a decent draw to Shelbourne on the opening day, the performances and results just haven’t been good enough.

Their mid table position flatters them, due to a recent 3-0 walkover victory over Cabinteely. They even had to pull a late goal out of the bag, to earn a draw against surprise package Treaty United in their most recent outing.

Unlike Galway, UCD don’t have any issues when it comes to performances and finding the back of the net.

The Students are still unbeaten during the early days of this tight First Division campaign. They’re in second place, just two points behind Athlone Town.

Certain fans worried UCD would struggle for goals, with the departure of last seasons league top scorer, Yoyo Mahdy. That simply hasn’t been the case. They’ve netted ten times in four games this season, the most of any club in both divisions.

Prediction – Galway’s bad start to continue, UCD win.

Treaty United vs Cork City

Venue – Markets Field

Kick Off – 7.45 pm

Odds – Home 21/10 Draw 21/10 Away 23/20

Watch On – LOITV

Treaty United | Give Them The Support They Deserve – League Of Ireland  Group Chat Blog

Limerick side, Treaty United have already set the precedent that they’ll be stiff competition for any title hopefuls this season.

The League of Ireland newcomers have already taken points of the likes of Galway and Bray. Two sides that many supporters and pundits tipped to be serious title challengers in 2021.

Treaty United are defensively rigid, only conceding two goals from their opening four games. Handing them the best defensive record out of both divisions.

Cork City are another side that have had a rotten start to their season.

They’re currently on a three-game skid, coming off a bad 3-1 win to Shelbourne in their last game, while letting a 1-0 lead slip in the process.

It was always going to be a strenuous task for Cork to jump straight back up to the Premier Division. Especially, during what’s shaping up to be an ungodly difficult First Division season.

Prediction – Honours even.

Cabinteely vs Shelbourne

Venue – Stradbrook

Kick Off – 7.45 pm

Odds – Home 16/5 Draw 23/10 Away 4/5

Watch On – LOITV

Opinion We Need To Start Talking About Cabinteely SSE Airtricity League

Well, that was two weeks to forget for Cabinteely.

In case you missed it, they were due to play Galway last weekend. However, when Galway arrived to Stradbrook, they were informed the game was off, due to positive Covid test within the Cabinteely camp. Ultimately, it resulted in a 3-0 defeat added to the record of the home side in this one.

Throw in a nasty 4-1 defeat to UCD in their last game, and now may not be the best time to be facing a side like Shelbourne, who are starting to come into their stride.

Another side that’s currently unbeaten. As expected, Shels have been scoring freely in their past three games. Netting seven times since their opening day 0-0 dud against Galway.

New striker, Yoyo Mahdy also opened his account with the Dublin outfit during their most recent win against Cork City. It was badly needed, as they’ll be relying on him to emulate his form from last season.

Prediction – Shels victory.

Athlone Town vs Wexford

Venue – Athlone Town Stadium

Kick Off – 7.45 pm

Odds – Home 13/20 Draw 12/5 Away 15/4

Watch On – LOITV

Eamonn Sweeney: League of Ireland fans insulted and betrayed by Athlone  debacle - Independent.ie

Funny, this would normally be the battle of the basement dwellers in seasons gone by.

I think it’s now definitely safe to say, Athlone have shaken off their reputation as strugglers, and have now arrived as serious contenders for one of those play-off positions.

The much-improved squad have seemingly gelled at a rapid pace. What seemed to be a difficult start for Athlone, has catapulted them up as league leaders.

They’re on a three-game winning run, and have took points off UCD, Galway, Cork, and Bray. All sides that will have ambitions of forcing themselves into at least the play-offs.

On the other hand, Wexford would bite your hand off for a sniff of the upper echelon of the table.

They’re sitting rock bottom of the table, without a single point on the board, from their opening four games.

Unfortunately, with their young squad and lack of any sort of proven goal scorer, it seems to be a position they’ll be stuck in for the rest of the season.

Prediction – Athlone, this weekend’s banker.

Saturday, 24th of April 2021

Premier Division

Dundalk vs Drogheda United

Venue – Oriel Park

Kick Off – 6.00 pm

Odds – Home 8/13 Draw 14/5 Away 4/1

Watch On – WatchLOI

Dundalk FC vow to ban supporters who bring flares to Oriel Park - Talk of  the Town

Dundalk are going through an incredibly turbulent spell, both on and off the field.

The Lilywhites have parted ways with Shane Keegan and Filippo Giovagnoli, fan unrest continues to grow over the direction of the club and the squad is in serious decline from the one under, Stephen Kenny.

The influx of international players just hasn’t really worked yet. Goalkeeper, Alessio Abibi has actively made game costing mistakes, and the likes of Sam Stanton and Han haven’t provided the creative outlet in the midfield.

Honestly, from a Drogheda point of view, now is the ideal time to play their Louth rivals.

The newly promoted side have looked decent, with some real stand out individuals within their squad. The likes of James Brown, Mark Doyle and Darragh Markey have all delivered when called upon.

While European football may be out of their reach, two defeats from their opening six games is just the start manager Tim Clancy would’ve been searching for, on arrival to the Premier Division.

Prediction – Derby day draw.

Sligo Rovers vs Derry City

Venue – The Showgrounds

Kick Off – 6.00 pm

Odds – Home 4/5 Draw 12/5 Away 3/1

Watch On – WatchLOI

Download your Valentine's Day card to say you are going to Finn Park – Sligo  Rovers

Talk about two sides with polar opposite starts to their respective seasons.

Sligo recorded a massive 3-1 win over Bohemians on Tuesday. While the score line doesn’t match the overall standard of the performance, a win of that magnitude is a massive statement from the Bit o Red.

The addition of Greg Bolger to the team has hardened up what was a soft midfield last season. Plus, having the likes of Romeo Parkes and young Johnny Kenny getting off the mark, really makes Sligo as well rounded as ever.

Derry have had no such luck. They’re propping up the Premier Division table, with just two points from their first six games.

The Candystripes are still looking for their first W of the campaign.

While some promising young players has added energy into the squad. That wasn’t enough to save Declan Devine’s job, after he was just let go from his position as Derry City manager.

Prediction – Tight home win for Sligo Rovers.

Waterford vs Longford Town

Venue – Regional Sports Centre

Kick Off – 6.00 pm

Odds – Home 11/8 Draw 21/10 Away 9/5

Watch On – WatchLOI

Waterford FC face anxious wait to see if they will be allowed to play in  Europe if they qualify

Waterford are another side badly struggling in the early goings of the season.

They’re sitting second from bottom, just a point ahead of last place side, Derry City.

The Blues from Munster have lost five out of their opening six games.

While some lads like Jamie Mascoll, Kyle Ferguson, James Waite, and Adam O’Reilly have impressed in spells. The mix of so many defeats and injury woes, hasn’t done anything to stop the unrest surrounding the club.

Longford are another side many tipped to struggle this season, but they’ve got off to a commendable start.

A big win over Derry on the opening night and draws against Bohs and Finn Harps have them hovering in seventh place.

Prediction – Hard one to call, wouldn’t be shocked to see Longford leave with all three points.

First Division

Cobh Ramblers vs Bray Wanderers

Venue – St. Colman’s Park

Kick Off – 6.00 pm

Odds – Home 9/5 Draw 21/10 Away 13/10

Watch On – LOITV

Cobh Ramblers announce link up with Belvelly Castle

It was always going to be a difficult season for Cobh Ramblers.

The teams around them last year have vastly improved. While most of their incoming players arrived from the Munster Senior League.

That’s not a major knock either, new signings like David O’Leary have really shown their worth for Cobh.

Like last season, they’ll prove to be difficult to play against. In fairness, they’re on a decent run. Picking up a 2-0 win over Wexford, last time out.

Just going off their early performances, the Cork side do seem destined for the lower half of the table.

Like Galway, Bray Wanderers have been really underwhelming so far this season.

They’re currently in eighth place, without a single win to their name. Away draws with Shels and UCD aren’t outright bad results in isolation, but a 2-1 defeat to Athlone last weekend, certainly done them no favours.

The Seagulls do have the talent to improve at their disposal. A win here is badly needed to kick start their season and start the catch-up period before it’s too late.

Prediction – A Bray win in the sole Saturday First Division game.

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