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LOI: Champions At Risk Of Falling Further Behind

irishfootball

Athlone Town –v- Bohemian FC    7:45

Rock bottom Athlone Town host Bohemians at Athlone Town Stadium.

Five games, five defeats, it has been a miserable start to the season for newly promoted side Athlone Town. The euphoria of promotion and the excitement of competing at the top level have worn away quickly. Now even this early it’s all about survival. Mick Cooke and his side need points and fast or their misery will just go on and on.

The 1-1 draw with Bray Wanderers on Friday was a good result for Bohemians. Currently sitting in sixth position, Bohs need to find a way to turn their draws into wins. If manager Owen Heary and his players can find a way, then Bohemians could find themselves challenging for the league or at the very least a European place.

Prediction: Away win 

Bray Wanderers –v- St Patrick’s Athletic    7:45 

Bray Wanderers take on struggling champions St Patrick’s Athletic at the Carlisle Grounds.

The 1-1 with Bohemians would not have been the desired result for Bray Wanderers, but it was an improvement on previous weeks where they suffered two defeats in a row. They will want to take advantage of their opponents stuttering form and land themselves at least a draw. A result that manager Alan Matthews and his side are more than capable of getting.

St Patrick’s Athletic have found out very quickly that it’s one thing to win a league title, it’s another matter entirely in retaining it. The 4-1 home defeat at the hands of Dundalk was a huge blow for St Pats title hopes, at least on a psychological level. Liam Buckley will need to be at his best to motivate his players so that they bounce back quickly.

Prediction: Draw

Dundalk –v- Derry City    7:45

Title challengers Dundalk take on an inconsistent Derry City at Oriel Park.

Goals from John Mountney, Daryl Horgan, David McMillan and Sean Gannon gave Dundalk an excellent 4-1 away against St Patrick’s Athletic. That win leaves Dundalk fourth and well in contention. The psychological victory of beating the champions 4-1 on their own turf will be immense and one that Dundalk will hope to take advantage of.

A solitary Enda Curran goal was enough to give Derry City a 1-0 win over Sligo Rovers on Friday. That win was Derry’s first of the season and may just be the catalyst that they build a title challenge on. Roddy Collins reign as Derry boss is still a work in progress, but a win last week and a strong result here could really build some momentum for the candystripes.

Prediction: Home win

Sligo Rovers –v- Drogheda United    7:45

Struggling Sligo Rovers look to get their season up and running as they take on title chasing Drogheda United at the Showgrounds.

Another week, another defeat, it has all gone wrong so far for Sligo Rovers. Their 1-0 defeat against Derry on Friday was their fourth of the season. With his side’s confidence rock bottom, Ian Baraclough will need to be at his best to get the proper response from his players. They face a tough task against an in form Drogheda united, but Sligo simply can’t afford to lose at this point.

A Declan O’Brien hat trick gave Drogheda United a 3-2 victory over Athlone on Friday. That win sees them second in the league and well in contention for the league title even in the early stages of the season. Win here and they go top at least for a week and it may just put a little pressure on Cork City.

Prediction: Away win

Shamrock Rovers –v- UCD    8:00 

Title challengers Shamrock Rovers take on in form UCD at the Tallaght Stadium.

It was a disappointing result last Friday for Shamrock Rovers. They lost 3-0 in the top of the table clash with Cork City and have slipped to third as a result. Trevor Croly and his side will look to bounce back immediately and take advantage of the fact that Cork City are not playing.

Despite the 1-1 draw on Friday against Limerick, UCD have been in good form and have recovered from their poor start to the season. Despite that they face a tough task here against what undoubtedly be motivated opponents. Aaron Callaghan knows his side will have to be at their especially in a defensive capacity if they are to have any chance of getting some points.

Prediction: Home win

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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