Advertisements

Posts Tagged ‘ Shane O`Neill ’

LOI: Hoops Seek Revenge On Table Topping Dundalk

irishfootball

Bray Wanderers –v- Derry City    5:00 (Friday)

Seventh versus eight here as Bray Wanderers play host to Derry City at the Carlisle Grounds.

Goals from David Scully and Shane O’Neill gave Bray Wanderers an impressive 2-0 away win over Drogheda United last week. Bray will be pleased with their progress so far this season, avoiding many of the problems that plagued them last year. They will look to take advantage of their opponents slow start and overtake them in the league standings.

Goals from Enda Curran, Rory Patterson and Michael Duffy gave Derry City their second win of the season in a 3-2 victory over Athlone Town last time out. That win sees them sit seventh and manager Roddy Collins and his players will look for a win that could see them rise to fifth place and back into contention for the league.

Prediction: Draw

Cork City –v- Drogheda United    7:45

Title chasing Cork City take on title rivals Drogheda United at Turner’s Cross.

Having missed out on a chance to go top last week thanks to their 1-1 draw with Sligo Rovers, Cork City will be looking for a win here. Two points behind in second and with a game in hand, manager John Caulfield will be extremely pleased with his sides start. They face tough opposition here against a Drogheda side also looking to get back on track.

Like their opponents, Drogheda United will be bitterly disappointed with their showing in the 2-0 home defeat against Bray Wanderers last week. Despite that Drogheda have been in excellent form and have proved to be troubling opposition for every side they have met. They face an uphill task here against another side in impressive form and will have to be at their best to get a result.

Prediction: Home win

Dundalk –v- Shamrock Rovers    7:45

Two title challengers clash here as league leaders Dundalk take on Shamrock Rovers at Oriel Park.

Goals from Stephen O’Donnell, a Mark Langtry o.g. and a brace from Patrick Hoban saw Dundalk register an impressive 4-1 away win against UCD last week. That win saw them go top of the league, a position that manager Stephen Kenny and his side have no intention of leaving. They face a tough challenge from their title rivals but Dundalk will be confident their home form will give them the edge.

Shamrock Rovers will be disappointed with their 1-0 away defeat to champions St Patrick’s Athletic. Trevor Croly and his side know they need to bounce back quickly and regain the momentum they lost slightly last week. They face a difficult task going against the leagues in form side, who knocked them out of the Setanta Cup earlier this week. These games are where leagues are won and lost.

Prediction: Home win

Limerick –v- Athlone Town    7:45

Limerick take on bottom side Athlone Town at Thomond Park.

A solitary Rory Gaffney goal was enough to give Limerick all three points in a 1-0 win over Bohemians last week. They will be looking for another three points here as they play a poor Athone side. Stuart Taylor will be determined that his side move away from the relegation zone as fast as possible so as to avoid a relegation battle they could do without.

Even this early into the season it would seem the writing is on the wall for Athlone Town. Seven games, seven defeats, they are scoring goals but conceding far too many. Mick Cooke and his players are in desperate need of at least a point, but it just doesn’t look to be coming. Lose here and Mick Cooke may be out of a job so a win will be desperately needed by all.

Prediction: Home win

St Patrick’s Athletic –v- Bohemian FC    7:45

Champions St Patrick’s Athletic look to get their title ambitions back on track, as they take on Bohemians at Richmond Park.

A Killian Brennan penalty gave St Patrick’s Athletic a crucial three points against title rivals Shamrock Rovers last week. That win sees them sit fifth, four points behind the league leaders and well in contention. Liam Buckley will be looking for another three points in a Dublin Derby as he tries steady the ship that has been far to inconsistent so far this season. The Supersaints must forget Monday’s woeful Setanta Cup semi final drubbing at the hands of Sligo Rovers (5-1) and give their fans something to cheer about.

Unlike their opponents Bohemians will be disappointed with their showing last week. The 1-0 home defeat against Limerick was not what would have been expected. They face a tough ask here but it is a derby and form usually goes out the window so a win would not be out of the realm of possibility.

Prediction: Home win

Sligo Rovers –v- UCD    7:45

Sligo Rovers will look to lift themselves out of the relegation zone as they take on UCD at the Showgrounds.

The 1-1 draw with Cork City last week was an excellent result for struggling Sligo as was Monday’s Setanta Cup demolition of St Patrick’s Athletic in Inchicore (5-1). They will be looking for all three points here to move themselves out of the relegation zone into ninth place. Sligo have been very poor in the league this season and Ian Baraclough will hope a win here will change his sides fortunes.

Another heavy defeat last week for UCD, as they lost 4-1 at home against Dundalk. The students will hope to counter that result with a win here that will hopefully put some breathing room between themselves and the relegation battle. Aaron Callaghan will be hoping his sides leaky defence shut up shop here allowing his attacking players to score the goals that will give him all three points.

Prediction: Draw

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Irish Should Overcome Scotland In First Test

Scotland v Ireland - Senior Hurling / Shinty International 2nd Test

International Hurling/Shinty First Test

Ireland V Scotland

Ireland overcame the Scottish in last years test, even though the Scottish were questioning the reasons behind awarding five points for a goal, when three would sound much better for both sides.  Ireland won the series last year quite comfortably  (aggregate 11–21 (76) to 6–12 (42) ) even though the scoreline didn’t really reflect how well Scotland played. Ireland should win their home game in Croke Park on Saturday evening. The Scottish will be hoping to get some goals and put in a good performance, to keep the margin tight rather than have one side completely dominating the series. This game is played annual with 14 players a side. Continue reading

SHC Final: Clare And Cork Must Do It All Again

clare

Clare 0-25 Cork 3-16

Last Sunday I witnessed what was possibly the most dramatic and exciting game of hurling I have seen in my near thirty years on this planet. Given the occasion and what was at stake the drama that unfolded was truly box office, heart-stopping for a neutral , I can only imagine what it was like for the proud Cork and Clare natives.

On Sunday , Clare and Cork played out a draw inside a packed Croke Park and must now do it all again on September 28th at 5pm. Queue the rush for tickets.

In a high-octane encounter following on from what we have experienced from the championship already this year, Cork who had been second best all afternoon grabbed a point from lead marksman and talisman Patrick Horgan right on the 70 minute mark to put them ahead by a point and with two minutes of injury time signalled the robbery of the century was on the cards. Fans from Cork roared and cameras were on Jimmy Barry Murphy as Cork won a sideline ball way up the field. They cut it wide and the referee gave Clare one last chance with time up. Step forward corner-back Domhnall O’Donovan. He gambled, made his way up field and collected a pass under the Cusack Stand from Nicky O’Connell. Defying the corner-back label he shot straight over the bar, his first ever championship point amid madness and emotion in Croker. Game over , both sides must do it all again. Continue reading

Munster Rivals Draw Swords In Battle For Hurling Success

clarecork

After a summer of drama, entertainment, controversy and joyous hurling we reach the pinnacle of the hurling calendar this weekend with tickets for Sunday’s battle as rare as hen’s teeth.

Few would have predicted it at the start of the year and those who did well there just liars or fortune tellers. Cork and Clare do battle this Sunday at half past three in Croke Park for the honour and privilege of being crowned All-Ireland champions and bringing home the Holy Grail that is the Liam McCarthy cup. Both teams have come this far via the back door / qualifier system but none to argue their worth of a place in Sunday’s showpiece after both teams displayed scintillating performances in their semi-final victories to advance. Continue reading

League of Ireland Preview: Rovers Aim For Three In A Row

The League of Ireland returns this week as Shamrock Rovers seek to make it three successive titles in a row under the guidance of new manager Stephen Kenny.

The Hoops have enjoyed a good off-season and a smooth transition to the Kenny era after the departure of Michael O`Neill to take over as manager of Northern Ireland. Kenny has added well to the squad he inherited enlisting the services of Killian Brennan (Bohemians) and Daryl Kavanagh (St Patricks Athletic) amongst others. Anything other than title success will be deemed as a failure by Hoops fans who have high aspirations of cracking the Champions League this term after their Europa League adventure last year.

Many would have predicted Sligo Rovers to push the Hoops all the way this year yet their pre season plans have hit a wall with the departure of manager Paul Cook to Accrington Stanley. Prior to his departure Cook did well in the transfer market adding some talented stars such as Mark Quigley (Dundalk) and Danny North (St Patricks Athletic). The Bit O`Red have yet to find a replacement for Cook and it looks like they will begin their league campaign managerless. The club will be without the mercurial Richie Ryan who left the North West in the off season for SPL side Dundee United, John Russell who has joined St Patricks Athletic and Aaron Greene who has joined Shamrock Rovers.

Outside of last season’s top two St Patricks Athletic are expected to mount a title challenge although their squad may just fall short. Liam Buckley has taken over the reins at Richmond Park and culled much of last season’s squad. In their place he has brought in some of the finest rising stars in the league who will be looking to step up to the plate. Among the stars set to pull on the famous red shirt this year include the returning Brendan Clarke (Sligo Rovers), Ger O`Brien (Bohemians), Christy Fagan (Bohemians) and Jake Kelly (Bray Wanderers). Much focus will also shine on James Chambers who returns to the league after a spell in Scotland with Hamilton Academical. The Saints haven’t endured the best pre season to date having been dumped out of the Setanta Cup at the first hurdle by Cliftonville. Should the squad gel together quickly then a title tilt is likely however it will probably be next season when this team begin to flourish, if Buckley can maintain the solid core of the team.

Few would bet against Derry City vying against a title challenge and they will definitely be in contention for a European spot despite losing stars such as James McClean (Sunderland), Eamon Zayed (Persepolis) and Daniel Lafferty (Burnley). Declan Devine has taken over the managerial reins following Kenny`s departure and his stability will no doubt benefit the Foylesiders. Kenny`s former right hand man has acted swiftly in the transfer market securing the services of highly rated hitman Rory Patterson, who already has a Setanta Cup hat trick to his name. The golden boot may well be heading to the Brandywell for a second season in a row if Patterson can continue his blistering start.

The Candystripes may face a tough battle for Europe from newly promoted Cork City, who look set to be this years surprise package. Tommy Dunne has steadied the ship on Leeside and despite the loss of key striker Graham Cummins to Preston, Cork look like they will pose a threat to any team. Dunne has managed to convince Northampton Town striker Tadhg Purcell to return home and this signing could prove to be a shrew acquisition. The club will also be boosted by the return of former captain Dan Murray who arrives back at Turners Cross following a spell with Shamrock Rovers. Former Ireland international Colin Healy (Ipswich Town) has also returned to Turners Cross providing further evidence that this Cork side can push for a European spot.

The rest of the league is somewhat of a mixed bag. Bohemians and Shelbourne should have enough to avoid the drop. Mid table obscurity looks like the order of the day for the fallen Dublin giants. Bohs have blended some experience with a vastly young side while Shels have added considerably to their ranks following promotion. The First Division runners up will be glad to be back in the big time but a good cup run is probably the best both sides can hope for. Bohs however have been handed a huge boost with the news that they are to take Derry City`s place in the Europa League as the latter doesn’t meet the appropriate requirements. Sean McCaffrey and his new Dundalk side will be looking to challenge the Dublin duo. McCaffrey`s first foray into the League of Ireland has seen him assemble a young squad although in Shane O`Neill and Chris Shields he has secured two stars with real potential.

The battle to avoid the drop looks like a clash between four sides- Bray Wanderers, Drogheda United, Monaghan United and UCD. Bray and Drogheda have both been handed a boost with the return of key stars such as Jason Byrne (Bray) and Declan O`Brien (Drogheda). Both strikers will play a key role in helping their teams stay afloat. Drogheda seem like the best side among this quartet to retain their premier division status. Mick Cooke has built upon the foundations he inherited last term and if Paul Crowley can return to fitness it will further boost the Boynesiders cause. Bray have been rocked by some big departures such as Shields, O`Neill (Both Dundalk), Kelly (Pats), Gary Dempsey (Waterford United) and Conor Murphy (Monaghan United). Pat Devlin will do well to keep the Seagulls in the top flight this term.

UCD will benefit from Paul Corry`s decision to remain at Belfield. The midfield star looked set to join Pats but the two clubs failed to agree compensation. The club noted for their silky passing will no doubt have some talented youngsters to unleash on the league this year yet their time at the top table may just have run out.

Monaghan United are something of an unknown entity. Consistent performances in the first division combined with some impressive FAI Cup results will give their fans hope yet it remains to be seen how Roddy Collins charges will adopt to life in the premier division. The loss of Declan O`Brien to Drogheda will hit them hard. Shaun Maher (Limerick) and Robert Bayly (Bohemians) are the calibre of player the Gortakeegan outfit will rely on to stay in the premier division while a huge emphasis will be placed on the goalscoring ability of new recruit Conor Murphy (Bray Wanderers).

Predictions

1.Shamrock Rovers

2.Sligo Rovers

3.St Patricks Athletic

4.Derry City

5.Cork City

6.Bohemians

7.Shelbourne

8.Dundalk

9.Drogheda United

10.Bray Wanderers

11.UCD.

12.Monaghan United

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

Advertisements
Advertisements