I was looking at the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division results and table on Saturday night. The word ‘binary’ came to mind, as in binary numbers, which only use two symbols – ‘zero’ and ‘one’. All five games ended 1-0. What odds would you have got on that before a ball was kicked?!
Finn Harps got off to a great start with a victory at home to Sligo Rovers in the North-West derby. Dundalk began the defence of their title with a 1-0 home win over Derry City. The rest of the games ended in away wins, with Shelbourne making a bold statement of intent on their return to the top flight with a victory in Cork. Elsewhere Waterford went back south happy after the win over St Patrick’s Athletic in Richmond Park, and Saturday saw Shamrock Rovers triumph over both Bohemians and Storm Dennis to take the spoils in the season’s first Dublin derby at Dalymount Park.
Kevin O’Connor scored the season’s first goal, netting just after half time for Waterford in Richmond Park. The Enniscorthy native [and Lotto winner!] has returned to Waterford on loan from parent club Preston North End, having previously gone out on loan from Deepdale to Fleetwood Town, Crewe Alexandra and Cork City.
You can’t tell anything after one game. I normally wouldn’t even bother looking at the table this early on, but websites will insist on putting it up. Back when I was a boy there were no websites and the papers would wait until three or four games in before putting up the tables.
It’s good to have the season up and running, and St Valentine’s Day was an apt day for the big kick off, allowing fans to renew their love affairs with their teams. This week sees the First Division get going, after the fixtures and licences were sorted out at the eleventh hour and fifty-ninth minute.
The season’s first ‘El DARTico’ will see Bray Wanderers travel to Cabinteely, while Athlone Town travel to Galway, UCD head south to Wexford, Drogheda make the long trek to Cobh and Shamrock Rovers B head for the Midlands to play Longford in their first game at this level since 2014.
Hopefully there will be no lasting animosity in the First Division towards Shamrock Rovers B [or whatever you want to call them – I’ve seen the side called ‘Shamrock Rovers 2’, ‘Shamrock Rovers II’ and ‘Shamrock Rovers Reserves’ in various media]. My last word on the Limerick saga is that it is sad to see the city sit this season out but it is better in the interim if the division is a 10-team one and Rovers B are very welcome from my point of view.
I’m expecting the scores in the First Division’s opening games to outdo the binary suite of 1-0’s and 0-1’s the Premier Division offered up. Let’s not forget that the First Division gave better goals-per-game value than the Premier last term [2.9 compared to 2.4]!
Last word on all things binary. You may remember that 02 February this year  was a palindromic date. The previous one to that was way back in 1111, on 11 November of that year , a date which was binary as well as palindromic!