Posts Tagged ‘ Aidan Price ’

Gartland Discusses Charity Efforts Ahead Of PFAI Calendar Launch

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The Professional Footballers Association Of Ireland (PFAI) will launch their 2014 Spot The Ballers calendar tomorrow.

The calendar which is funded by Ford is one of many charity efforts taking place to help Drogheda United striker Gary O’Neill, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer last month.

The calendar will be available from various retail outlets including HMV, select clubs and the PFAI themselves. Calendars will also be available to buy at the Aviva stadium on Sunday as Gary’s current team Drogheda United battle Sligo Rovers in the FAI Ford Cup final. Continue reading

League of Ireland Preview

The League of Ireland begins tonight with anxious fans awaiting what will hopefully be a great season both on and off the pitch.

 Recent matters such as the demise of Sporting Fingal and other licencing issues have soured some people`s expectations but now normal order is set to resume as the 10 teams get set to battle once again. 

Shamrock Rovers are clear favourites to regain their crown and there is no reason to see why they can`t. The Hoops have brought in some of the best players in the league with the likes of Karl Sheppard, Ronan Finn, Ken Oman, Ciaran Kilduff, Gary McCabe and Gary O`Neill all moving to Tallaght. Michael O`Neill has also bolstered his ranks with the addition of exciting prospect Conor McCormack, formerly of Triestina in Italy.   

 The Hoops will still be smarting after last season`s FAI Cup final defeat to Sligo Rovers. It is the Bit O`Red who like the main challengers to the Hoops title ambitions. Paul Cook has worked his magic in the North West for many seasons now and the Merseysider is well aware that the club must transform their domestic cup success into the League. 

Sligo started off slowly last season but a tremendous push towards the end saw them prosper and the threat they pose cannot be underestimated. Sligo have added tremendous strength to their squad for the forthcoming season with Brendan Clarke, Aaron Greene and Jason McGuinness  all signing on at the Showgrounds. However it is the capture of former favourite Raffaele Cretaro that has many Sligo fans bursting with excitement.

 Pats and Dundalk seem the most likely to challenge The Hoops and Sligo, all though whether they can last the distance or not is the key question. Pats burst into life last season as they went unbeaten in their first six games. The Inchicore faithful believed that it could be their year under the guidance of Pete Mahon however they fell off in the final third of the season, eventually finishing 5th.

 Ian Foster`s side finished 6th last season however recent  acquisistions have the Oriel Park fans believing it is their time to shine. Striking duo Jason Byrne and Mark Quigley  have joined from Bohemians in what was a shrew piece of business. The duo will be well complimented on the wings by Daniel Kearns and Ross Gaynor, two of the finest talents in the league last term that Foster has done well to keep a hold off. 

Derry City and Bohemians will consider themselves to be in with a shout of securing European football. Derry City have been promoted as Champions of the First Division under the astute guidance of Stephen Kenny. Kenny has installed great spirit in his young side with the McEleney brothers, James McClean and David McDaid all sett to rip up the Premier Division.  The return of key duo Ruaidhri Higgins and Gareth McGlynn will add experience to the Candystripes while the signing of Eamon Zayed will fill the void left by Mark Farren.

As for Bohs it will be a case of restoring some pride. The 2009 champions finished second on goal difference last season however financial turmoil over the close season left the club`s future in serious doubt. Thankfully financial matters have eased and all players that were owed money have been paid. However some Bohs fans remain cautious at the club`s spending. Pat Fenlon lured Killian Brennan back to Dalymount Park after Sligo baulked at his wages. While many fans appreciate Brennan they are aware that the survival of the club is of foremost importance. The additions of Ger O`Brien, Aidan Price, Anto Flood and Robert Bayly will give Bohs a strong first time but should any injuries or suspensions occur the squad will struggle.   

The remainder of the teams will contest a four team relegation shootout. UCD played some great football last season but must start from scratch having lost their finest talents to other clubs. Martin Russell will be hoping his next batch of youngsters can produce some form of cup run.

 Bray Wanderers narrowly survived last season, beating Monaghan United on penalties in the crucial relegation play off. The Seagulls have kept hold of their prize assets such as Jay Kelly and Shane O`Neill but a relegation fight is definitely on the cards for Pat Devlin`s men .

Galway United and Drogheda United make up the final two teams, despite much controversy over the licencing system. Galway were demoted to the A Championship only to be reinstated to the league following a successful appeal. Sean Connor will again be looking to work wonders on a shoestring budget .

 Mick Cooke has taken over the reigns at Drogheda United and will do well to keep the Boynesiders up. Drogheda finished bottom last term and only return to the Premier Division following the untimely demise of Sporting Fingal.The former Monaghan United supremo has added to his ranks with some talent from the First Division, although he will be kicking himself that he brought Ryan Brennan to Monaghan before departing the club. 

Verdict

  1. Shamrock Rovers
  2. Sligo Rovers
  3. St Patricks Athletic
  4. Dundalk
  5.  Derry City
  6. Bohemians
  7. UCD
  8. Bray Wanderers
  9. Galway United
  10. Drogheda United

 

FAI Cup: St Patricks Athletic

 League Cup: Sligo Rovers

 Setanta Cup: Shamrock Rovers