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LOI: Big Dublin Derby Kicks Off New Season

irishfootball

A new season is upon us as the eagerly awaited return of the League Of Ireland takes over the Irish sporting calendar for the weekend ahead. Each team starts the season off with a clean slate, fresh aspirations and hope of successful days ahead. While many are tipping Pat Fenlon’s Shamrock Rovers to lift this season’s title, recent years have shown us that the league title will be hotly contested, with a number of teams in contention for Airtricity League glory.

Dundalk –v- Longford Town    7:45

Champions Dundalk, take on newly promoted Longford Town at Oriel Park.

After their most successful season in 20 years resulted in them being crowned champions Dundalk will be most determined to start off their defence of the title by taking all three points. The Louth side will be hoping a good start equals a good season, but will be weary that their opponents will not let them have it all their own way.

After winning the first division championship last year Longford Town re-enter Ireland’s top division for the first time in six years. They could not have asked for a tougher challenge than the current champions but manager Tony Cousins will no doubt remind his side this is what they worked hard for last season, competition like this.

Prediction: Home win

Galway United –v- Derry City    7:45

Recently promoted Galway United, play host to Derry City at Deacy Park.

This is the biggest season in Galway United’s short history. The newly founded club enter its first season in Ireland’s top flight, and enter with nothing to lose. With that mindset every achievement will be first, a record, something that will no doubt motivate manager Tommy Dunne and his players. A win here could be the start of quite a season.

After last season’s horrible start Derry City will be determined to begin 2015 season the right way. The Candystripes finished a disappointing eight last season something manager Peter Hutton and his side have been working to correct this time around. They will face tough motivated opposition, but Derry will feel they have what it takes to get the job done.

Prediction: Draw

Shamrock Rovers –v- St Patrick’s Athletic    7:45

A Dublin derby here as St Patrick’s Athletic travel to Tallaght Stadium to face Shamrock Rovers.

A fourth placed finish last season will have been a disappointment for Shamrock Rovers. Three seasons without a league title might be motivation enough for the Dublin side to really go for the league this season. They face tough opposition here against their Dublin rivals and will have to be at their best to get the result they desire.

A third place finish and the long coveted FAI Cup will be considered a successful season for St Patrick’s Athletic. Despite last season’s success, Liam Buckley and his side will be setting their sights firmly on the league title they failed to retain last year. St Pats will feel that a win here against their closest rival will set the tone perfectly for the season to come.

Prediction: Draw

Bray Wanderers –v- Drogheda United    5:45

Bray Wanderers host Drogheda United at the Carlisle Grounds.

After avoiding relegation by the skin of their teeth, Bray Wanderers will be looking to have a much more successful season this time around. Three consecutive finishes in the bottom three has not been an enjoyable experience for the club or its fans. Alan Matthews and his players will be setting their sights a little higher this year and a strong result here can only help that.

Drogheda United had a disappointing season last year finishing ninth, perhaps watching local rivals Dundalk win the league will be motivation enough for a better campaign this time around. Johnny McDonnell in his first full season with the club will be hoping to bring the league title to the club for their first time in eight years.

Prediction: Away win

Limerick –v- Bohemians   6:30

Limerick open their account with a game against Bohemians.

After two consecutive mid table finishes of sixth and seventh, Limerick will be hoping to take another step and ensure that 2015 is their most successful season since re-entering the premier division. They are more than capable and with an experienced manager in Martin Russell, they may do just that.

Though they have failed to reach the heights of their 2008 league and cup double, Bohemians can still be a threat on their day. Their seventh placed finish last season could be used as a stepping stone to greater success this campaign. Manager Keith Long and his side will be determined to bring back some glory to Dalymount Park.

Prediction: Draw

Sligo Rovers –v- Cork City    7:45

Sligo Rovers play host to last season’s runners up Cork City at the Showgrounds.

After several top four finishes, Sligo Rovers slipped to fifth last year finishing 19 points behind Shamrock Rovers in fourth. Owen Heary will be looking for more consistency in his side this season that could close the gap at the top of the league. They face tough opposition here but win may become the catalyst for s successful season.

Losing out on the league title on the final day of last season was a huge blow for Cork City. Manager John Caulfield has his work cut out for him in getting his side to lift themselves back up and reignite the form that was so prominent for most of last season. A win here would be the perfect start, it’s now down to the players to get it.

Prediction: Home win

 

 

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