Another weekend means another round of matches for League of Ireland fans to get excited about.

The Premier Division is starting a fresh round of fixtures, with all teams playing each other once by now. Add in some key First Division games at the top end of the table, and we’ve got a potentially huge weekend of Irish domestic football ahead of us.

So, let’s not hang about, and preview the League of Ireland games we can look forward to this Friday and Saturday.

Friday, 07th of May 2021

Premier Division

Derry City vs Longford Town

Venue – Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium

Kick Off – 5.45 pm

Odds – Home 10/11 Draw 11/5 Away 14/5

Watch On – WatchLOI

Derry City loanee Will Patching confident that side will come good despite  disastrous start to new league season

We kick off the weekend with a clash between two sides in the bottom end of the table.

The fortunes of Derry City seemed to be changing under the new management regime of, Ruaidhri Higgins and Raff Cretaro.

The Candystripes picked up two unexpected away wins since the departure of Declan Devine, but that good run of form came to a screeching halt against Finn Harps on Monday night.

Derry haven’t recorded a home win yet this season and will be hoping the visit of fellow strugglers Longford can turn that around.

Speaking of Longford, while their opponents are failing at home, they’re having similar luck on the road. The Town have only earned a single point on their travels so far this season.

They’re coming off the back of a decent point against Dundalk on Monday and have already beaten Derry 2-0 on the opening weekend of the Premier Division season. Not bad omens if you ask us.

Prediction – Longford good enough to get at least a point.

Dundalk vs Sligo Rovers

Venue – Oriel Park

Kick Off – 7.45 pm

Odds – Home 20/23 Draw 12/5 Away 14/5

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SHIELDS: WE NEED TO BOUNCE BACK - Dundalk Football Club

Dundalk have certainly underwhelmed this season. They would’ve had loft expectations of challenging for the title, but already find themselves 13 points off leaders, Shamrock Rovers.

Things are improving under the guidance of Jim Magilton. The Lilywhites are unbeaten in their last five games, winning two, and drawing three.

With rumours of Linfield manager David Healy coming into the managerial hotseat, Dundalk fans will be hoping he can steady the ship, and guide them on a course to European football, at least.

Sligo are coming off a disappointing draw to St. Pats on Monday, giving away a late goal in the dying embers of the game.

They’ll need to get that out of their heads with a difficult away trip ahead of them here. The fear is that their good start could be a thing of the past, with them winless in their last three games.

The Bit O’Red will be hoping the likes of Romeo Parkes can find his earlier form, after frustrating the Sligo faithful with his recent performances.

While they haven’t lost on the road yet this season, and even picked up a 2-0 win at this venue last year. They’ll need all hands-on deck to come out of Dundalk with something.

Prediction – Big Dundalk win to keep them pushing on.

First Division

Shelbourne vs Athlone Town

Venue – Tolka Park

Kick Off – 7.45 pm

Odds – Home 4/6 Draw 13/5 Away 10/3

Watch On – LOITV

2021 – Page 4 – Soccer

Title hopefuls Shelbourne could go top of table with a win here, and desirable results elsewhere.

They’re still unbeaten this season and are starting to really find some rhythm in terms of scoring goals.

While results have been going their way, they can be got at, and that’s evident by a less than satisfactory defensive record this season. Shels have conceded seven goals so far and haven’t kept a clean sheet since their opening game of the campaign.

That’s not ideal with another free scoring side like Athlone coming to town.

The Westmeath natives are sitting pretty at the top of the table. New signings like Stephen Meaney, James Donna, Kurtis Byrne, and Jamie Hollywood will all certainly be fan favourites when crowds can return to live sporting events.

This will be a massive test for them, to see if they can hang with the elite of the division. They’re coming off the back of a shocking 2-1 defeat at the hands of Cabinteely and would hate to see the bubble burst on their electrifying start to this First Division season.

Prediction – Shelbourne win.

Galway United vs Bray Wanderers

Venue – Eamonn Deacy Park

Kick Off – 7.45 pm

Odds – Home 7/5 Draw 23/10 Away 8/5

Watch On – LOITV

News | Galway United

At this stage, many would’ve expected both sides to be in the upper echelons of the league table.

Galway have surprised many with their average performances this season. However, they seem to be slowly turning things around.

The Tribesmen are unbeaten in their last four outings, most recently picking up a comprehensive 4-0 against the rock bottom side, Wexford.

New signing Ruairi Keating has been impressing the Galway supporters over the past several weeks, scoring three goals in his last two appearances.

They’ll need Keating and others around him to be firing on all cylinders in what’s expected to be a difficult encounter.

Bray make the trip out West desperate for their first win of the season.

The Seagulls have drawn five of their six games. Dropping unexpected points to the likes of Cobh Ramblers and Treaty United in the process.

Goals have been a real issue for Bray this season. Failing to score in half of their matches this season. They’ll be desperate to get Gary Shaw back fully fit and into their starting team to try and turn that around.

Prediction – Another Bray game, another draw.

UCD vs Treaty United

Venue – UCD Bowl

Kick Off – 7.45 pm

Odds – Home 4/7 Draw 3/1 Away 7/2

Watch On – LOITV

UCD AFC 4 Cabinteely FC 1; SSE Airtricity League Division One; Friday 16th  April 2021 - Dublin Gazette Newspapers - Dublin News, Sport and Lifestyle

You would be mad to ever count out UCD in the First Division title race. Even at that, the handful of loyal UCD supporters may not have anticipated their fantastic start to the season.

The Students are currently in 2nd place, just a single point of the top position. Like Shels, a win here today, could be enough to see them overtake Athlone in pole position.

They’re still unbeaten this season and have been scoring for fun.

In fact, they’re the highest scoring team across both male divisions, with a whopping 18 goals. They outdid themselves in their last game, battering Wexford 6-0 away from home. With striker Colm Whelan picking up his second hattrick of the campaign already.

Despite all of that, Treaty United make the trip to Dublin in some flying form too.

The league newcomers are also unbeaten this season, albeit mostly due to draws, but they’ve shown they’ll be a nightmare for any side to play. Most recently they even held Shelbourne to a dramatic 2-2 draw in Tolka Park.

Both sides have also only conceded five goals this season, the lowest amount in the league. You would imagine, it’ll be Treaty who’ll have their work cut out for them to keep that figure in tack.

Prediction – UCD win in an entertaining game.

Cork City vs Wexford

Venue – Turner’s Cross

Kick Off – 7.45 pm

Odds – Home 3/10 Draw 15/4 Away 13/2

Watch On – LOITV

Cork City are lacking leaders right now but Cobh have shown promise

We move on to a tie featuring the bottom two sides in the league.

Cork may be somewhat surprised to be in that position, but even reaching the play-offs may turn out to be a difficult task for them this season.

The Munster side haven’t won since their opening derby day victory against Cobh. However, they must be happy with their last result, drawing 0-0 to a game Bray Wanderers side.

Away from that, there hasn’t been much positivity for the Cork City fans. They’re another team struggling badly to find the back of the net. Even in these early goings, a swift return to the Premier Division already seems out of the question.

As bad as Cork have been, Wexford have been ten times worse.

They’re sitting rock bottom of the table and look destined to stay there for the remainder of the season. They haven’t registered a single point and have only managed to find the net on two occasions.

UCD put them to the sword last time out, but Wexford didn’t do themselves any favours. Goalkeeper Jimmy Corcoran was sent off in the first minute of the game, only to have his replacement Sean Martin sent off early into the second half too.

Ultimately, Wexford had to recruit free agent Ross Treacy to fill the goalkeeper gap. Good luck Ross, we think you’ll need it.

Prediction – Cork City win.

Cabinteely vs Cobh Ramblers

Venue – Stradbrook

Kick Off – 7.45 pm

Odds – Home 21/20 Draw 5/2 Away 2/1

Watch On – LOITV

Cabinteely FC - News, views, gossip, pictures, video - Irish Mirror Online

We finish up a packed Friday of First Division action with a trip to Stradbrook.

Cabinteely are coming into this one, off the back of a cracking win against league leaders, Athlone.

Both strikers Ben Hanrahan and Niall Barnes opened their accounts for the season. These goals came at the ideal time, as Cabinteely found themselves on a three-game skid.

Cobh weren’t as fortunate last time out, getting battered 4-0 by Galway.

The Cork side has only got one win all season and will be looking at games like this one to earn themselves three points in what’s shaping up to be an unpredictable First Division campaign.

Saying that, Cobh lost to Cabinteely twice last year, losing 1-0 on their last trip to Stradbrook.

Prediction – Tight Cabinteely win.

Saturday, 8th of May 2021

Premier Division

St. Patrick’s Athletic vs Shamrock Rovers

Venue – Richmond Park

Kick Off – 6.00 pm

Odds – Home 21/10 Draw 2/1 Away 5/4

Watch On – WatchLOI

St Patrick's Athletic FC - Latest news, reaction, results, pictures, video  - Irish Mirror Online

We’ve another massive Dublin derby as our big marquee game of Saturday, and arguably the entire weekend.

St. Pats will be full of confident after their excellent opening round of fixtures. While a last second goal against Sligo may suggest a smash and grab, that was far from the case.

The Saints had ample opportunities to put the ball in the back of the net, and dominated possession for good portions of the game.

Their calm build-up play, discipline shape and stand out performances from the likes of Chris Forrester will have to continue, if they’re to get anything from an unstoppable Shamrock Rovers side.

The Tallaght occupants won their 31st consecutive league game on Monday, breaking the League of Ireland record after beating Waterford 3-0.

They’re already setting themselves out as the team to beat, and it will be a tall order for any side to do just that.

Players like Graham Burke and Dan Mandroiu have been superb for the Hoops this season. Rory Gaffney is also starting to show his worth, netting four goals already.

Prediction – Nightmare to call. Heart says Pats can do it; head says it’s clearly going to be Rovers.

Waterford vs Drogheda United

Venue – RSC

Kick Off – 6.00 pm

Odds – Home 5/2 Draw 21/10 Away 21/20

Watch On – WatchLOI

Preview: Waterford FC vs Drogheda United - Waterford FC

The rollercoaster continues down in Waterford, with the recent departure of manager Kevin Sheedy and his assistant, Mike Newell.

Reports of bust-ups, negativity in the dressing room, protests and horrendous results meant the writing was plainly, on the wall.

As the search for a new manager is underway, the Blues will have too solider on. They’re coming off the back of two, 3-0 defeats. Albeit at the hands of Dundalk and most recently, Shamrock Rovers.

Even before that, the Munster side only won two of their opening nine games. They currently find themselves bottom of the table too.

Whoever does come in as the new gaffer, certainly has their work cut out for them.

Drogheda visit the RSC with the knowledge they already beat Waterford on the opening weekend.

While the Louth natives have impressed with their style of play, they are still winless in their last five games. However, a last gasp goal against Bohemians on Monday will give them a major confidence boost coming into this one.

Prediction – Drogheda win to continue the blues for Waterford.

Bohemians vs Finn Harps

Venue – Dalymount Park

Kick Off – 6.00 pm

Odds – Home 10/11 Draw 23/10 Away 14/5

Watch On – WatchLOI

02/04/2021 – Finn Harps FC

Bohs are another side that have underwhelmed considering their expectations coming into this season.

They’re winless in their last four outings, and looked dreadful against Drogheda, bar one moment of brilliance from Dawson Devoy and Liam Burt for the goal.

Defensively they look fragile, and striker Georgie Kelly has been timid in his performances. Strange to say when you consider the talent at the disposal of manager, Keith Long.

The same can’t be said for Ollie Horgan, and Finn Harps.

The Donegal side are currently sitting in 4th place and beat their rivals Derry City on Monday with the help of a late Adam Foley winner.

Harps have already beaten Bohs earlier in the season too, and there is no evidence saying they can’t do it again.

Prediction – Another difficult one, think Bohs might snatch a home win.