League of Ireland XI for the half way stage of the 2017 season

With the League of Ireland season on its mid season break we wanted to put together who we feel have been the top performers in the Premier Division and make our League XI for the half way stage.

There have been some close calls and we have had to leave some players out that we feel could have made the squad so we had to make a bench also.

The formation we went with was a 4-3-3.

In goals we went with St Patrick’s Athletic man Conor O’Malley, as he has been one of the only saving graces in a poor season for the Dublin side and has certainly been the reason for picking up points in games they may have lost with some man of the match displays. Although McNulty has conceded the least goals we felt the Mayo man has been the best keeper in the league so far.

The defence essentially picks itself and we went with Cork City’s back four. They have not only conceded the least goals in the league (8) but also are the highest scoring defence in the League which shows how good the defence are performing.

One of the back four John Dunleavy, we have selected as captain of the side.

In midfield it was a mix and probably the toughest area to pick players from. With much thought and argument we went firstly with Gary McCabe. The Bray man was a dead cert to make the team with a huge goal return in the league so far (13) and will be looking to grow that number in the second half.

Aaron McEneff we felt deserved his spot for some stellar performances in a tough season for the Candy-stripes and has contributed (6) league goals this season so far.

Kieran Sadlier has shown his quality at Sligo Rovers this season, the midfielder has also contributed (6) goals in the league this season and has attracted interest from Cork City and some English clubs. We feel Gerard Lyttle will do well to keep a hold of Sadlier in this window.

The front three we have selected as two strikers up top and one sitting in the number ten role off the strikers.

We have gone with Karl Sheppard just off the strikers and again we feel his name was one of the first names deservedly in the team with his high level intense performances and his contribution of (8) league goals so far this season.

Everyone is certainly expecting the name of Seani Maguire to appear up front and they would be correct in that assumption.

Maguire has been in blistering form with (16) league goals so far and has since got a big move to Championship side Preston North End along with praise from Ireland manager Martin O’Neill.

There was plenty of competition up top to partner Maguire and we went with the Limerick striker Rodrigo Tosi.

Tosi has come into this League from a foreign country with limited knowledge of the League.

The Brazilian is 34 years of age and has already scored (8) league goals for a newly promoted Limerick which is the real difference that is keeping them above the drop zone.

Here is our team

Conor O’Malley

John Dunleavy (c) / Alan Bennett / Ryan Delaney / Kevin O’Connor

Kieran Sadlier / Aaron McEneff / Gary McCabe

Karl Sheppard

Rodrigo Tosi / Sean Maguire

Subs:

Mark McNulty
Stephen Dooley
Ronan Murray
Conor McCormack
David McMillan
Trevor Clarke

The team above (including bench) has the following representatives:

Cork City (9)
St Patrick Athletic (1)
Sligo Rovers (1)
Derry City (1)
Bray Wanderers (1)
Limerick (1)
Dundalk (1)
Shamrock Rovers (1)
Galway United (1)

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