LOI : Dublin Derbies Significant At Both Ends Of The Table


The League Of Ireland run in is well and truly upon us with most teams now staring at their final ten games of the season.

This season has been highly significant in footballing circles as there has been a paradigm shift in all quarters. St Patrick’s Athletic appear destined for title glory , thus stealing the mantle of Dublin’s top team from Shamrock Rovers while the surprise package that has been Stephen Kenny’s Dundalk , have claimed the bragging rights for 2013 over fallen neighbours Drogheda United.

Elsewhere , not much has changed as both Sligo Rovers and Derry City remain in title contention while both Bray Wanderers and UCD continue to battle at the bottom.

Tonight’s Dublin derbies are extremely significant for many reasons. Each team needs a victory for their own purpose , the Saints to extend their lead at the top , the Hoops to continue their European push and Bohemians and Shelbourne to move themselves clear of the relegation trapdoor.

Bohemians –v- Shamrock Rovers    7:45

A Dublin Derby here as bottom side Bohemians host Shamrock Rovers at Dalymount Park.

The 1-0 defeat last week against Cork City left Bohemians rock bottom and struggling to get to safety. Caretaker manager Owen Heary appears to struggling to get his side out of the situation they find themselves in. Unless a turnaround can be made in the next few weeks, Bohemians will be likely playing First Division football next season.

Shamrock Rovers will wish to forget all about their result last week against St Patrick’s Athletic. The 4-0 home defeat has ended Rovers title and European ambitions for another season. Trevor Croly and his players will need to regroup and get a win as quickly as possible. Attaining one here is well within their capabilities.

Prediction: Away win

Bray Wanderers –v- Cork City    7:45

Relegation threatened Bray Wanderers face Cork City at Carlisle Grounds.

After the 2-0 defeat against title chasing Sligo Rovers last week, Bray Wanderers desperately need to put some points on the board. Currently sitting in 11th position and only two points off the bottom, the Wicklow side will be determined to pick up all three points here. Manager Pat Devlin will be pushing his side all the way in order for them to play top division football next season.

A solitary goal from Danny Morrissey gave Cork City a 1-0 victory over Bohemians last week, making it the perfect start to the post-Tommy Dunne era at Cork. Caretaker manager Stuart Ashton and his side are in a relatively comfortable seventh position. But Ashton and his Rebel Army need to be careful, if they lose or draw the next few games they could be sucked into a relegation battle they could do without.

Prediction: Draw

Derry City –v- Drogheda United    7:45 

Title chasing Derry City play host to Drogheda United at the Brandywell.

A goal from Michael Duffy and a brace from Rory Patterson gave Derry City a 3-1 away win over UCD last week. Derry are currently in fourth position , five points off the top and are fully capable of closing that gap in the remaining games. Declan Devine knows his side cannot afford to slip up or only European football beckons next season.

Goals from Declan O’Brien, Gavin Brennan and Ryan Brennan gave Drogheda United a much needed 3-0 win over Limerick last week. That win relieves some of the pressure that manager Mick Cooke and his side had been facing in recent weeks. Hopefully for the Louth side that win, coupled with a positive result here could be the catalyst for a change in fortune for Drogheda United.

Prediction: Home win

Dundalk –v- Sligo Rovers    7:45 

Second versus third here as Dundalk face Sligo Rovers at Oriel Park.

Goals from Andrew Boyle and Brian Gartland gave Dundalk a 2-1 victory over Shelbourne last week. Currently second and having played a game more, the Louth side cannot afford any slip ups here. Manager Stephen Kenny and his players will be looking to take advantage of their home field advantage and get the win that will put some distance between them and the sides below them.

Goals from Raffaele Cretaro and Kieran Djilali gave Sligo Rovers a 2-0 win over Bray Wanderers last week. The current champions are starting to find form at the right time and are putting some positive results together. They face an extremely tough game here but Sligo are used to the pressure and may take advantage of their opponent’s inexperience in big games.

Prediction: Home win

Limerick –v- UCD    7:45 

Sixth placed Limerick take on relegation threatened UCD at Thomond Park.

The 3-0 defeat against Drogheda United last week would have been an extremely disappointing result for Limerick. Though relatively safe, Limerick face an outside chance of relegation and three points last week would have gone a long way of ensuring their mathematical safety. They’ll be determined to get a strong result here and will prove tough opposition for their opponents.

UCD suffered a 3-1 home defeat against title chasing Derry City last week in what was an unsurprising result. The Students are capable of getting the result they need here, but will have to be at their best to get it. They have a little gap between themselves and the bottom three and manager Martin Russell and his players will be determined to widen it.

Prediction: Home win

St Patrick’s Athletic –v- Shelbourne    7:45 

Another Dublin Derby here, as league leaders St Patrick’s Athletic entertain Shelbourne at Richmond Park.

Conan Byrne was the main man last week for St Patrick’s Athletic as he scored all four goals in their 4-0 win over Shamrock Rovers. St Pats are in top form, some would say championship winning form, but Liam Buckley and his side cannot afford any slip ups with three teams waiting to capitalize.

Shelbourne’s undefeated streak ended last week in the 2-1 defeat against Dundalk. Johnny McDonnell will no doubt be continuing to push his side to improve themselves starting with this Dublin derby which sees him visit his former stomping ground. Shelbourne are far from safety, but with the right attitude, one they have been showing consistently as of late, they have what it takes to survive.

Prediction: Home win

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