First and foremost, I believe the events of this week off the west coast of Mayo have put Football into perspective. My heart goes out to all those involved with Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue 116 and they are all in my prayers.
Now to the football. Two eager sides to win silverware this season meet at Tallaght Stadium on St Patrick’s Day in what is probably the pick of the League of Ireland games this weekend.
Shamrock Rovers’ consistency problems are highlighted with their recent form, with only two of their first four matches this season ending in a victory; however, to put some perspective on that statistic, their two defeats were against Dundalk and Derry City (two of the big 3).
Shamrock Rovers have looked solid at the back and seemed to have improved in that area of their side from last year. They also play a brand of possession football that, at times, can be pleasing to the eye.
The foundation is there, I believe, for Rovers to go on and be a real force to reckon with. However, that may not happen in time to have a real impact this weekend or in this season overall.
For the moment, there are still major weaknesses in the side. While having a lot of possession of the football, Rovers are still struggling to create chances in the final third of the pitch and the chances they do create often go unconverted. We can only hope however that Gary Shaw’s double last time out has given the team confidence in the attacking third.
Shaw has to start after the performance in Galway and Burke’s return from suspension I hope will give us that bit of guile in the final 3rd we’ve been lacking.
Cork City have no such problems with inconsistency, after winning their first four in the League, and it is for this reason that many predictions have them going all the way in the Premier Division title challenge.
Cork City have been on fire and have been doing everything right on the playing field, with Sean Maguire playing a major role in that. Maguire has scored five goals this season and six in his last six games.
Cork City also have many different options in attack. Along with Maguire, they have Karl Sheppard and Achille Campion chomping at the bit. Connor Ellis has also been on the score sheet for Cork this season. So they have many goal scoring options in comparison to Rovers, who are struggling in that department.
My prediction leans towards a Cork City win. The visitors have looked excellent both home and away this season and score goals for fun. This could prove useful against a side who failed to score in their last home game against a 10 man Derry City. I believe it will be a Shamrock Rovers 1 Cork City 2 away victory, cementing Cork’s title challenge while leaving Shamrock Rovers languishing just off the top sides in the League.
Anyway, whatever game you choose to attend, I hope everyone has a wonderful League of Ireland holiday weekend.