Premier Division preview - Round 8
With the televised game between Waterford FC and Shamrock Rovers taking centre stage at the RSC this weekend, there is a bottom of the table clash between Keith Long’s Bohemians and Dave Mackey’s Bray Wanderers side at Dalymount Park, while St. Patrick’s Athletic host Limerick FC and Ger Lyttle’s Sligo Rovers round off the weekend’s action with a home clash against Stephen Kenny’s Dundalk at the Showgrounds.
Waterford FC vs Shamrock Rovers
For the first time in over ten years, a Waterford side and Shamrock Rovers will do battle in the RSC as Alan Reynolds’ “Blues” look to consolidate their lofty position in the Premier Division table with a win over a resurgent Shamrock Rovers.
Having gone down to a bitterly disappointing Dublin Derby defeat against Bohemians on the first day of the season, Rovers have bounced back very well indeed and now find themselves as high as 2nd in the league table, just a mere three points behind John Caulfield’s Cork City, with heavy beatings handed to both Derry City and Bray Wanderers in recent weeks. Waterford have also started strong and currently lie in 4th place, just one point behind the “Hoops”.
It will be interesting to see how this game turns out as both sides are in a good run of form since the start of the season. With this game being on television, expect some crunching tackles and entertaining football to be on display as the pair chasing European football will be out to land that early statement of intent.
PREDICTION: Waterford FC 1-1 Shamrock Rovers
Bohemians vs Bray Wanderers
On current form at least, the two worst sides in the Premier Division do battle with one another as Keith Long’s Bohemians play host to relegation favorites, Bray Wanderers at the home of Irish football in Dalymount Park.
“The Gypsies” come into this game having been on the receiving end of a three-nil thumping away to Cork City at Turners Cross last time out, which has left the Phibsborough outfit in the midst of a six-game winless run. Bray, are no better with only one point to their name so far at the bottom of the Premier Division table after they gained a credible point away to Stephen Kenny’s Dundalk at Oriel Park on day one.
Mackey’s side will be up against it here at Dalymount Park versus a Bohemians side looking to write the wrongs of previous games, while striker, Dinny Corcoran will be looking to end his score-less start to the 2018 season.
PREDICTION: Bohemians 2-0 Bray Wanderers
St Patrick’s Athletic vs Limerick FC
For all the talk of a crisis at Limerick FC during the off-season, it must be said that Tommy Barrett has acquitted both himself and his side superbly to life as one of the divisions biggest underdogs, as his “Blues” side lie in a comfortable 6th place.
On the other hand, St.Patrick’s Athletic have arguably been of the most unfortunate sides in the division to date, having gone down to two incredibly frustrating defeats against both Cork City and Shamrock Rovers in their opening few games of the season and they will certainly be looking to take advantage of some dreadful away showings by Tommy Barrett’s side in recent weeks.
A fascinating contest is in store at Richmond Park for sure, but it would be foolish to suggest that Limerick have no hope of taking anything out of this game in Inchicore, despite the heavy favorites tag being associated with Liam Buckley’s charges.
PREDICTION: St Patrick’s Athletic 3-1 Limerick FC
Sligo Rovers vs Dundalk
In the final Premier Division game of the weekend, Sligo Rovers play host to Stephen Kenny’s Dundalk FC at The Showgrounds on Saturday night, looking to shoot themselves up the table and avoid the dreaded relegation dogfight come the end of the season.
Last time these sides met, the "Bit O’Red" held Stephen Kenny’s "Lilywhites" at the same venue as Benny Igiehon leveled after a Nicolas Vemmelund opener. Dundalk are currently on the crest of a six-game unbeaten run and are also remarkably yet to concede a goal so far this season.
It will be difficult to see anything but a Dundalk win here on Saturday night, but stranger things have happened in the Premier Division as Ger Lyttle will undoubtedly be looking to plot the downfall of a very strong "Lilywhites" side at the Showgrounds for the first time since 2012.
PREDICTION: Sligo Rovers 0-2 Dundalk
For in depth previews for all of the above fixtures, plus debate and analysis from the last round of top-flight matches, check out Series 2, Episode 5 of Between the Stripes LOI podcast. Special guests this week were Longford Town manager, Neale Fenn and Bohemians season-ticket holder, Seany Fitzgerald.