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What have we learned in the League of Ireland this week?

Aaron Doherty

Another round of fixtures is in the book that seen 33 goals, 3 draws, 3 clean sheets and a new leader in the first division. Amongst all that was the shock death of Derry City captain Ryan McBride that has sent shockwaves up and down the country. The 27-year-old colossal centre back had been in fine form for his beloved Candystripes and his passing is not only a huge loss to the League of Ireland community but also to Derry City and his family. May he rest in peace.

After this weekend’s action, Cobh Ramblers, Cork City and Derry City all remain unbeaten while the latter 2 maintain their 100% start to the season. For St Pats, Galway, Shelbourne and Wexford they all await their first win and have a total of 8 points between them. Stephen Bradley is feeling the pressure after yet another loss, while Liam Buckley has his biggest job on his hands. Sean Maguire continues his fine form with a brace while Bohemians Dinny Corcoran and Bray Wanderers Gary McCabe are close by in the top scorer charts.

Here’s what we learned this week.

Patrick McEleney shows his quality.

The former Derry City player has always been highly rated throughout his career but has yet to back it up on a consistent basis. The attacking midfielder has started his second season with champions Dundalk on fire and has already notched 4 league goals which is 1 more than he got in all last season. He has stepped out of the Daryl Horgan shadow and is now showing his worth and quality with yet another exceptional goal this past weekend.

Using his quick feet, powerful dribbling skills and driving at the St Pats rear-guard, he nonchalantly dinked Conor O’Malley when it didn’t seem possible. Throughout his 5 years with Derry, he lacked consistency and hard work but now Stephen Kenny is starting to get that quality out of him and the Lilywhites are reaping the awards.

Bray need to tighten up.

Harry Kenny’s reign at Bray Wanderers so far has been excellent, with the help of a decent budget of course but since replacing Mick Cooke last season, the turnaround so quickly has everyone looking on. Signing players like Gary McCabe, Anto Flood and Aaron Greene is a sign of their intention of what they are trying to achieve this season. Giving the budget and the quality of players throughout the squad, a top 4 finish is a real possibility but defensively its becoming a shambles.

After 5 games, the Seagulls have conceded 11 goals, the second highest after Sligo Rovers. They have conceded 3 goals on 3 occasions and with experience players like Conor Kenna and Tim Clancy, you would expect a bit more organisation. Currently sitting in 4th it all looks rosy but unless the leak is stopped, the Seagulls will fall.

Bit o ’Red are off the mark.

The Sligo win column changed on Saturday night after dispatching Bray at home for their first win of the season. Dave Robertson was under pressure to get something and get the Showgrounds buzzing again, so thanks to a piece of magic from Kieran Sadlier, he got the 3 points. The energetic midfielder is Sligo standout player and has 3 in gals in his last 3 games, 2 of which have been set pieces.

The win leaves Sligo sitting in 10th place but a win this weekend away to Finn Harps could see them go straight into mid table. Manager Dave Robertson will need to do more work on his backline however as they have shipped 14 goals in the 5 games. He will use this win to build confidence throughout his squad and will hope they can repeat it this weekend.

Bohs quietly on the move.

There was early season talk of relegation for Bohemians after suffering 2 defeats in their opening games and with the lack of quality in the squad. Keith Long however has rallied his squad and have now gone 3 games unbeaten and sit nicely in 5th. The manger lost key players Roberto Lopez and Keith Buckley in the off season while Ismael Akinade has a long-term injury so cause for concern was understandable.

Dinny Corcoran has re-signed though and has already scored 5 times while Keith Ward has settled in very nicely in midfield. Georgie Poynton is a clever loan signing from Long who offers his own quality and like Ward has settled well. Bohemians are no great shakes but staying away from the drop zone will be a priority and with games away to Drogheda and hosting St Pats coming up, they can target at least 4 points.

5 star Cobh go top.

Stephen Henderson has done a wonderful job at St Colman’s Park since been appointed last year. Having narrowly missed out on the play off final last year, Henderson will hope he has enough to win automatic promotion this year. This weekend they stuck 5 past Athlone which included a debut goal from Cian Coleman. It was the captain Chris McCarthy who led by example with 2 penalties as Cobh went top.

They now sit 1 point clear with favourites Waterford watching closely in second. This weekend they make the travel to Dublin to face Cabinteely who have won their last 2 so that should make for great viewing. The manager will be taking it one game at a time there is no reason they can’t shock the first division and get promotion.

Image Credit: RTE

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