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

Aaron Doherty

Another round of games is in the history books and it will show that Galway United were the first team to stop Cork City from winning this season. Galway who have already beaten champions Dundalk at home, took a massive point from the runaway league leaders which was also their 8th draw of the campaign.

Every game seen a goal as there were 22 goals in total across the 10 games, with 7 teams failing to score. Bray got back on the winning trail after easing passed Finn Harps, that left them bottom; while Dundalk scored 4 second half goals to beat Sligo Rovers. Shamrock Rovers made it 3 wins from 3 in all competitions against Bohemians this season and as a result – that moved them into 5th.

Limerick got their 5th 1-1 draw of the season at home to Derry City in a repeat score line of their game 2 weeks ago. It was also the Candystripes 5th draw in their last 6 outings that leaves them 4 points adrift of Dundalk in 3rd. St Pats were the only side to win in the bottom 6, as they beat Drogheda 2-0 which then moved them up into 8th.

As if the soap opera of Athlone Town couldn’t get any better with the match fixing scandal, they decide to appoint Roddy Collins as the new manager, for a second spell. He watched on from the stands on Friday as Shelbourne won 2-1 to leapfrog Athlone into 6th. Waterford picked up another win to keep them top of the first division against Wexford, while UCD and Cobh kept the pressure on with wins of their own.
So, what have we learned this week?

Harry Kenny keeps his seagulls flying

He was officially announced as the permanent manager of Bray Wanderers last June when he replaced Mick Cooke after he was sacked with Bray in the relegation places. The turnaround however in just under a year has been an incredible one, with a 6th place finish last season and now sitting comfortably in 2nd. He’s been one of the best mangers in the league over the last 12 months and has won 21 of his 38 league games in charge of Bray (Includes caretaker role).

This season they extended their budget and signed players like Anto Flood, Keith Buckley, Derek Foran; and Gary McCabe who is by far their most influential player. Dylan Connolly and McCabe have been terrorising defences all season and Kenny will want this to continue if they are to finish in the top 3 this year.

Limerick need to find a win

Willie Boland hasn’t done too well since coming in as the caretaker boss at Markets Field. Having replaced Martin Russell with no win in their last 5 league games, they have dropped to 6th. In all of his 8 games in charge, in all competitions he has won just twice and kept just 2 clean sheets. The rumours are that Neil McDonald and Steve Watson are being interviewed for the job, 2 managers that will need time adjusting to the league of Ireland.

With 3 going down this season, Limerick appointed a manager that will need time to adjust to new surroundings which could back fire; but thankfully for Limerick there are weaker teams out there than them. This weekend sees back to back games from Friday into Tuesday, and Limerick must pick up a win against either Dundalk at home or away to Bohemians. It remains to be seen if a new manager will be in place by then, but regardless of who is in the dugout, a win is a must.

The relegation drop continues to change

At kick off on Friday night St Pats sat bottom of the table and when the full-time whistle was blown, they had jumped into 8th place, that’s how tight it is as clubs battle to beat the drop. The Saints victory was only their 3rd of the season and one that came at the right time for Liam Buckley’s men. Despite moving up into 8th, they sit level on points with Sligo Rovers and Bohemians with only goal difference separating them.

Bohemians latest defeat has moved them into 10th place, it was their 5th league defeat in their last 6 games as Keith Long continues to find the right formula to steer them away from the drop. Finn Harps have moved to the foot of the table after 5 straight defeats and no goals score as Ollie Horgan continues to struggle with his injury hit squad. They sit on 11 points just 2 points off the drop and a win against draw specialist Galway on Friday would see them over take the tribesmen.

Shane Keegan’s side have drawn 8th out of their 13 games so far and will need to start turning them into wins before it gets too late. He will look to the Harps game on Friday to pick up 3 points, before they travel to inform Shamrock Rovers on Monday. Sligo Rovers took a heavy defeat on Friday against the champions and they are on the road again this weekend when they travel to Richmond Park, looking for their 1st away win of the season. New manager Gerard Lyttle will need to find some consistency to beat the drop.

Despite sitting in 6th, Drogheda are pretty much in this relegation battle as they are just 1 point above the drop zone. Pete Mahon side have had 2 wins in their last 6 games and travel to Cork on Friday, before hosting Bray on Tuesday; so, it’s a massive weekend for the Boynesiders. When the whistle is blown from this double game week on Tuesday night, the bottom 6 will be changed again.

Waterford consistent

Pat Fenlon & Alan Reynolds continues to guide Waterford back towards promotion to the premier division with another win on Friday night. They have only lost 1 of their 12 games so far and sit 1 point clear of UCD and 2 points clear of Cobh. Themselves and Cork have had the best defence in the country having both conceded just 6 goals, while the south east side have only conceded once in their last 5 league games.

If Waterford were to have an Achilles heel – it would be in front of the goal, having netted just 16 times so far. They have only managed to score 3 goals so far in their last 4 league games and have only scored 1 more than second bottom Athlone Town. Strikers Mark O’Sullivan has 5 goals in 11 while David McDaid has just 4 in 10 and Reynolds will know his strikers need to be much more clinical, to pull away from the chasing pack.

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