The opening weekend of the league of Ireland season threw up some surprising results. Galway’s 3-1 victory away at St pats was the pick of the bunch. This week’s fixtures, just like any other week in the league will be hard to call. Here are my views on how this week’s games will plan out.
Bohemians vs. Sligo Rovers
Both Bohs and Sligo suffered 2-0 defeats on the opening weekend. Both teams will be looking to get there first win of the season this Friday. I see this game heading for a Bohs win. With the striking force of Ismahil Akinade and a strong defensive line with players such as Derek Prendergast, I can see them getting a good win over Sligo. However Sligo will have their own threats especially through Raffaele Cretaro. Schlingermann will also be very hard to beat in the Sligo goal. So my predictions is a Bohs win in this tight game in Dalymount Park.
Derry City vs. Cork City
Derry had an opening day defeat to derby rivals Finn Harps. The conditions were hard for both teams and Finn Harps just adapted better on the day. Derry face a tough test against a strong Cork side that enjoyed a 2-0 home win over Bohemians. Sean Maguire looks to be a vital player for Cork this year and will be key in their bid for the league title. My prediction is that Cork will be too strong for Derry but only just and see a low scoring game in store. The one goal could be enough.
Dundalk vs. Finn Harps
Both sides had good results in the opening weekend of the season. Dundalk had a very good 3-1 win away at Bray, while Finn Harps enjoyed a derby day win against rivals Derry City. I can see Dundalk been too strong for Finn Harps in Oriel Park on Friday. Players such as Kilduff, Finn, Horgan and Meenan should be enough to see Dundalk take all 3 points.
Galway United vs. Bray Wanderers
Galway had a fantastic win against St Patricks Athletic last weekend and should give them real confidence heading into this week’s home match against Bray. Bray fell to a 3-1 loss at home to Dundalk but have a strong squad and should be well clear of relegation this year. Mick Cooke is building something good down in Bray at the minute and I feel they will have good results throughout the season and be very difficult to beat. This week my prediction is for Galway to grab the win in a very tight game. Bray need another couple of weeks to gel and Galway will be full of confidence after last week’s result.
Longford Town vs. St Patrick’s Athletic
Longford Town had a good result in their opening fixture away to Wexford Youths last Friday and look to have quite a good squad heading into the season. St Pats had a poor loss at home to Galway but do have a very strong squad who just need a bit of time to get to grips with each other. Players such as Dinny Corcoran, Christy Fagan, Billy Dennehy and Keith Treacy should be key players for Pats in the weeks ahead. Looking to Friday however I feel a home win for Longford could well be on the cards. Longford are very hard to beat especially at home and after last week’s result I can see Longford Town taking all 3 points.
Shamrock Rovers vs. Wexford Youths
Shamrock Rovers started their campaign off with a strong result away in Sligo. Rovers took a lot of positives from the game and are optimistic heading into Friday. Wexford lost 2-0 to Longford on their Premier division debut but that is nothing to be ashamed of. It will take a couple of weeks to get to grips with life in the premier division but Wexford have the advantage of playing with little pressure on their shoulders, which definitely can be an advantage. On Friday I can see Rovers taking the 3 points but can see it being closer than a lot of people are predicting. The likes of Brandon Miele and the Brennan brothers should be enough to see Rovers through.
Athlone Town vs. Shelbourne
Both of these clubs had opening day defeats last Friday. Athlone had an away loss to Cabinteely while Shelbourne loss at home to Cobh Ramblers. Shelbourne will be hoping to get a win after last week’s result. Athlone will also be looking for their first win and could well get it at home on Friday. David Cassidy will play a vital role for Athlone in the season to come and on Friday night. My prediction is for Athlone to scrape a win on Friday against Shells.
UCD vs. Cabinteely
UCD got their campaign off to a heavy 4-1 defeat to a very strong Limerick side last Saturday, while Cabinteely enjoyed a home 2-1 win against Athlone Town. UCD should be well up there this season and I see them picking up all 3 points on Friday night. With Cathal Brady on the wing and Jason Byrne upfront I can see them edging the win at home to Cabinteely.
Waterford United vs. Limerick
Waterford United suffered a 2-1 defeat to a good Drogheda United side last Friday while Limerick put 4 past UCD on the opening weekend to win 4-1. Limerick have a very strong squad this year and are predicted to bounce straight back up. On Friday Limerick should ease by an average Waterford side and come out with all 3 points.
Cobh Ramblers vs. Drogheda United
Cobh Ramblers had a very good start to their season winning 1-0 away in Shelbourne last Friday, while Drogheda United saw off Waterford with a good 2-1 win at home and a good performance to go with it. On Saturday I feel Drogs will have enough to beat Cobh, who themselves will be hoping to challenge for promotion. Sean Brennan who had a very good game on Friday, Sam O’Connor who’s hold up play was excellent and bagged a good goal to go with it. Their captain Sean Thornton returning from suspension and creative players such as Aaron Ashe should be enough to see off a good Cobh side. Two teams with promotion ambitious could lead to a fantastic game in Cobh.
Predictions: Kian Maguire