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

It was a weekend of goals, celebrations, intensity and tears as the League of Ireland delivered yet again on the pitch. There was 41 goals scored across 12 games that seen Cork continue to stumble to the league title with just 1 point from 2 games. John Caulfield’s men were beaten on Friday by Limerick and then conceded late last night at home to Dundalk in a 1-1 draw. They are certainly dragging their celebrations out as they must wait another week to be crowned champions.

Bray Wanderers got back to winning ways as they hit Derry City for 5 at Maginn Park in an outstanding performance. Shamrock Rovers took advantage of that result when they beat Finn Harps 4-1 on Friday to move 4 points clear in 3rd. The Hoops however, lost their game in hand at Richmond Park last night which was their 1st league defeat in 5.

Bohemians cemented their place in the premier division for next season on Friday after scoring 3 times to beat rivals St Pats at Dalymount Park. Limerick got only their 2nd league win in their last 6 games as they shocked Cork City 2-1 to move 4 points clear of the relegation zone.

There was a massive 6 pointer in Galway as the Tribesmen met Sligo Rovers in a game both sides needed to win. It was Shane Keegan’s men who came out on top winning 3-1 to jump into 8th but dropped to 9th after St Pats win last night. Galway have hit form at the right time and are unbeaten in their last 3 but still remain right in the relegation mix.

St Pats defeat on Friday left them in 10th and in deep trouble but an excellent performance over Shamrock Rovers last night moved them straight up into 8th place and 2 points clear of the drop. Finn Harps have moved into 11th after Friday nights heavy defeat and with just  one win in their last 6 league games, Ollie Horgan has 4 big games coming up to get it right.

Drogheda United lost to Dundalk for the 4th time this season as their winless run in the league continues. Its been a dreadful campaign for the Boynesiders after a bright start but if they fail to win on Friday against Derry City, their relegation will finally be confirmed.

Waterford got their hands on the first division trophy on Friday night after a 1-0 win over Longford at the RSC. UCD beat Cobh Ramblers at the bowl but will miss out on finishing 2nd as Stephen Henderson’s men remain 4 points ahead of them. Cabinteely got their biggest ever league of Ireland win as they hit hapless Athlone Town for 6, and are now sitting nicely in 4th. That win means Athlone Town will finish bottom of the first division as they still await a 1st league win under Roddy Collins.

Wexford and Shelbourne played out a 1-1 draw as they both look towards next season where they will need to rebuild in what will be a more competitive division in 2018.

So, what have we learned this week?

Cork’s stumble continues.

After their blistering start to the league, Cork have reached a dip in form that every team goes through but the Leesiders are struggling to get out of it. John Caulfield’s men lost 2-1 to Limerick on Friday and haven’t won in their last 3 league games. They have also picked up just 2 wins in their last 7. The lead at the top has gone from 18 points to 11 and there is just 4 games to go. Also on the horizon for Cork, is the cup as they face Limerick again this weekend at Turners Cross in the semi finals of the FAI Cup,

They will certainly be out for revenge but as cup holders they will want a 3rd consecutive appearance in the final of the famous cup. Manager Caulfield will also have his sights on the league and cup double but they need to stop blaming the loss of Sean Maguire for their recent form and get the job the done.

Massive wins at the bottom.

There is no doubting that this relegation battle will go right down to the last day of the season but who will be in the mix, remains to be seen. St Pats, Galway and Limerick all recorded massive wins at the weekend to not only put points on the board but to breath confidence into the squad.

Galway had to come from behind to beat relegation candidates Sligo Rovers, which tells you the Tribesmen are well up for the fight. Limerick had an excellent win over Cork City at Markets Field which was only their 2nd league win in 6. St Pats needed to bounce back on Monday after Fridays defeat to Bohs and they done just that, winning 2-0 against 3rd place Shamrock Rovers.

In the last 2 games the Saints had a man sent off but this time they kept 11 men on the pitch and a got pivotal 3 points. As it stands these 3 teams are the favourites to stay up but with 4 games to go, there are plenty of twists and turns ahead.

Waters moves clear in the scoring charts.

The first division is all but done with just one game to go after Waterford were crowned champions last week. Athlone Town will finish bottom while their can only be movement between 3 teams on the final day. Shelbourne will need to beat Cabinteely by 6 goals and hope Longford lose to Wexford of they are to finish in 4th place.

A point for Cabinteely at Tolka Park will give them their best ever finish and round off an excellent season. This is largely thanks to Kieran Marty Waters who bagged a hat trick at the weekend to move clear in the top scorers charts. The winger has been an outstanding signing for Pat Devlin and has notched 15 league goals this season. With his latest flurry of goals, he has jumped ahead of UCD’S Georgie Kelly in the scorers charts and will see it as personal achievement.

Cabinteely are 2nd highest scorers in the first division which again tells you of the brilliant job done this season by Devlin and co but keeping Waters at Stradbrook next season, will be a massive ask.

Aaron Doherty

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