League of Ireland Weekly Preview

We won’t hang about wasting your time with a fancy introduction. You saw the title, you know the craic.

We’re gearing up for our last slice of League of Ireland action before the mid-season break.

So, let’s dive right in, and see what we can look forward to this weekend.

Saturday, 28th of May 2021

Premier Division

Finn Harps vs Sligo Rovers

Venue – Finn Park

Kick Off – 5.45 pm

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

* All odds are accurate at time of writing and are provided by a popular Irish bookmaker.

Watch On – WatchLOI

Foley brace sees Harps stun Dundalk - Donegal News

We kick off this round of games with a good old North West derby, between two sides riding high.

Finn Harps picked up an impressive 2-1 win, over strugglers Waterford last time out, despite going a goal down.

While the strong form they showed early in the season has dropped, they’re still picking up points on a somewhat consistent basis.

Finn Park is always pointed out as a fortress for the Donegal side. Unfortunately, that hasn’t really been the case this season, as Harps haven’t won at home in the last four games, something Ollie Horgan’s side will be looking to change.

Sligo on the other hand have been fantastic on the road so far.

They’re currently unbeaten away from home this season, one of the many factors that have them sitting pretty, top of the table.

Another factor is the excellent recruitment of Greg Bolger. The 32-year-old was immense in their most recent upset win over Shamrock Rovers on Monday.

Bolger’s aggressiveness, positional awareness and passing makes him the key figure in that Sligo team, and they look worse whenever he’s not involved.

All though we’ve a long way to go this year, another big result on the road could have Sligo leading the way ahead of the break.

Prediction – Sitting on the fence with a scored draw.

St. Patrick’s Athletic vs Dundalk

Venue – Richmond Park

Kick Off – 7.45 pm

Odds – Home 6/5 Draw 11/5 Away 2/1

Watch On – WatchLOI

Finn Harps 0-2 St Patrick's Athletic: Stephen O'Donnell's side continue  blistering start to the season in tough away win

While the overall performances have dropped for St. Pats, they’re keeping themselves in the title race, with the help of some last gasp goals.

Billy King popped up with a late header to salvage a point up in Derry on Monday.

While the Saints will be overjoyed to have Robbie Benson back from injury, they missed the talents of Matty Smith and Darragh Burns in their last outing.

The light squad may be starting to take effect. Stephen O’Donnell may need to bolster the squad during the break, especially with the FAI Cup on the horizon, and loanee striker Nahum Melvin-Lambert set to return to Reading in June.

Dundalk suffered their darkest day of a depressing season on Monday night.

The Lilywhites were battered 5-1 by Bohemians, adding fuel to the frustrations of their supporters.

They showed they can turn on the ability, when they put a halt to Shamrock Rovers winning run last weekend. But their recent abysmal display against Bohs, destroyed any feel-good factor remaining at the club.

Prediction – St. Pats win, Dundalk despair to continue.

Drogheda United vs Derry City

Venue – Head in the Game Park

Kick Off – 7.45 pm

Odds – Home 13/10 Draw 11/5 Away 9/5

Watch On – WatchLOI

Drogheda United announce 7 new deals signed for 2021. - LMFM

Drogheda are one of the handful of clubs that have surprised many so far this season.

The county Louth outfit romped home with a comprehensive 4-1 win against Longford on Monday, stretching their winning streak out to six games.

They’re currently sitting in 4th place, just hovering outside the current title picture.

Drogs have the highest goal tally in the league by a considerable margin. If lads like Mark Doyle, Chris Lyons and Jordan Adeyemo can keep chipping in on that front, it’ll be a mighty task to rip them away from European contention, this season.

Derry have been making positive strides since the appointment of Ruaidhrí Higgins. The Candystripes have only lost once since the Limavady man took over, with their disciplined set-up proving difficult to break down.

If they can get their main striker David Parkhouse off the mark for the season, they’ll be confident they can move away from the bottom end of the table.

Prediction – Hard to bet against this free-scoring Drogheda side.

First Division

Shelbourne vs Galway United

Venue – Tolka Park

Kick Off – 7.45 pm

Odds – Home 7/10 Draw 13/5 Away 16/5

Watch On – LOITV

League of Ireland Weekly Preview - The Big Kick Off

All First Division teams start their second round of fixtures this weekend.

When these two sides met on the opening day, you’d imagine when they clashed again, it would have title challenging ramifications attached to it.

For Shelbourne, that’s the case anyway.

They’ve been fantastic all season, remaining the only club unbeaten in both divisions. Earning themselves a comfortable five-point lead at the top of the league.

Most recently, they made a huge statement, beating potential title contenders UCD 3-1. Ryan Brennan grabbed a double on the night, and he’s one of several players racking up the goals this season. Add in their dependable defensive record, and it’ll be hard to stop Shels at all this year.

Galway on the other hand, have badly underperformed so far.

If it wasn’t for some late goals, the Tribesmen may find themselves in an even worse position.

John Caulfield’s side find themselves just outside of the play-off places. They’ve only lost twice throughout the opening round of fixtures. But they’ve been far from convincing in a recent win against Wexford, and a draw down in Cork in their last outing.

Time and squad talent is still on their side, and a result against high flying Shels would be a fantastic statement. But they need to get a move on if they aspire to challenging for the title this season.

Prediction – Another win for Shelbourne.

Athlone Town vs UCD

Venue – Athlone Town Stadium

Kick Off – 7.45 pm

Odds – Home 13/8 Draw 9/4 Away 7/5

Watch On – LOITV

Athlone Town making big impressions – League Of Ireland Group Chat Blog

Athlone will be looking to continue their recent change in fortunes, in what has the potential to be a belter of a game.

Despite their brilliant start to the season, their most recent 2-1 comeback win against Cobh put an end to the three-game skid they found themselves on.

While the Town are enjoying their 3rd place position, with sides like Bray and Cabinteely on the upturn, they’ll need at least another draw against UCD to remain in the top three.

Speaking of UCD, the Students suffered their first defeat of the season, in their recent trip to Tolka Park.

Even before that, they were surprisingly held to a 0-0 draw, at home to Cork City.

They’ll need to find their shooting boots again. With the division’s top goal scorer and now Ireland U21 international, Colm Whelan in their ranks, you’d be mad to bet against a dull encounter on Friday night.

Prediction – Another entertaining draw between these two.

Treaty United vs Bray Wanderers

Venue – Markets Field

Kick Off – 7.45 pm

Odds – Home 11/4 Draw 5/2 Away 4/5

Watch On – LOITV

League of Ireland newcomers hold on with 10 men for draw in historic first  game

Treaty shocked the masses by holding Bray to a draw on their opening League of Ireland fixture, and ever since they’ve pushed on and continued to impress.

Not only have they brought League of Ireland football back to Limerick, but they’ve given the people a team to be proud of. They suffered a frustrating defeat to Cabinteely last time out, but a good result here would keep them in that play-off push.

Bray have dusted off their draw merchant reputation from earlier in the campaign, and now find themselves on a three-game hot streak.

The return of striker Gary Shaw from injury has bolstered their attacking options, who’s lightened the load for the likes of Brandon Kavanagh and Joe Doyle.

Prediction – Tight Bray win.

Cobh Ramblers vs Cork City

Venue – St. Colman’s Park

Kick Off – 7.45 pm

Odds – Home 12/5 Draw 12/5 Draw 10/11

Watch On – LOITV

LOI veteran David O'Leary is grateful to get out of lower level football  limbo with Cobh Ramblers after winding road

The second highly anticipated Cork derby goes down this weekend, with both strugglers desperate for points.

Cobh were beaten by their county rivals on the opening day of the season and haven’t had much change in luck since.

They’ve only won a single game all season, against league whipping boys, Wexford. Their light inexperienced options up front are starting to cost them, with a consistent run of goals hard to come by.

Cork City are another club underwhelming.

Bar their previous win against Cobh, they’ve only won on one other occasion, say it with me, against Wexford.

Recent draws against Galway and UCD could be setting them up for better results going forward, but they need to be winning these games if they have any chance of even sniffing the play-offs.

Prediction – Narrow Cork victory.

Cabinteely vs Wexford

Venue – Stradbrook

Kick Off – 7.45 pm

Odds – Home 4/7 Draw 14/5 Away 15/4

Watch On – LOITV

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

Cabinteely have been going under the radar, as they’ve traded wins and losses throughout the duration of the season.

They picked up a 2-1 win over Treaty at home last weekend. Stradbrook is proving a strenuous place to visit, as Cabo have only lost twice there all season.

You’d expect they may still fade away as they’re missing a real goal scorer, and continue to leak goals, but games like these are perfect opportunities to keep their play-off hopes alive.

Really, what can we say about poor Wexford at this stage?

Rock bottom, zero points, horrendous defensive record and only two goals to their name.

Ian Ryan has come in for the unenviable task of manager, in all honesty, it’s a losing battle when you consider their budget and facilities, even compared to a side like Cabinteely.

Prediction – Cabinteely win.

Sunday, 29th of May 2021

Premier Division

Longford Town vs Shamrock Rovers

Venue – Bishopsgate

Kick Off – 4.00 pm

Odds – Home 8/1 Draw 15/4 Away 3/10

Watch On – WatchLOI


Longford host the champions, not ideal for a side on a miserable run of form.

The Town haven’t won a game since their opening day victory over Derry and find themselves on a three-game losing run.

While you couldn’t overly fault individual performances and commitment throughout their torrid patch, their most recent 4-1 defeat to Drogheda was awful.

It was Longford’s worse performance of the season, by far. They offered nothing on Monday night, and only nicked a goal due to an uncharacteristic mistake by Drogs keeper, David Odumosu.

Rovers are on somewhat of a horrific run too. Well, it’s a two-match losing streak, but for their high standards, it’s disastrous.

Back-to-back defeats to Dundalk, and most recently, Sligo Rovers has opened the league table up nicely. On paper, they’ve winnable games ahead of them after the break, and the talent of Richie Towell still to come in.

You’d still be mad to bet against them for the league title, but a banana skin here would really put the cat among the pigeons.

Prediction – Shamrock Rovers win.

Bohemians vs Waterford

Venue – Dalymount Park

Kick Off – 4.00 pm

Odds – Home 2/7 Draw 15/4 Away 17/2

Watch On – WatchLOI

Preview | Bohemian FC

Bohs are back showing the standards they’re capable of.

The Gypsies trounced Dundalk 5-1 on Monday night, possibly more of a damning indictment of the situation in Dundalk, but we still can’t take away from the clinical Bohs performance.

Georgie Kelly finally showed his finishing ability and mixed it in with a commanding presence, on route to netting himself a hattrick.

Bohs are also starting to make themselves at home in Dalymount this season. Their 4-0 win over Finn Harps at the start of the month was their first of the campaign, a win here could build the solid foundations to turn Dalymount into a nightmare ground to visit after the break.

Waterford on the other hand are struggling for points, both home and away.

They’re on a six-game losing run and have only netted once in those games.

New manager, Marc Bircham may be a likeable fellow, but already he has a mammoth task on his hands to keep Waterford safe from potential relegation.

He’ll need to work miracles during the break to bring in the necessary quick fix, to try change this horrific league situation they find themselves in.

Prediction – Bohs, this week’s banker.

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