Premier Division preview - Round 4.
Premier Division Weekend Preview
By Andrew Dempsey - @AndrewDempsey2
There is a big weekend in store for Premier Division followers with a massive clash between bitter rivals Dundalk and Cork City headlining the action. Elsewhere, “Bohs” face Dublin rivals St Pat’s, Shamrock Rovers welcome Derry City to South Dublin, Sligo Rovers host Waterford at the Showgrounds, whilst Limerick square off against Bray Wanderers at the Market’s Field in a game already branded by our Between the Stripes LOI podcast team as a “relegation six pointer” on last night’s show.
Dundalk vs Cork City
Live in front of the Eir Sport Cameras at Oriel Park, Dundalk and Cork City are set to renew one of the most intriguing Premier Division rivalries in recent memory as Stephen Kenny’s “Lilywhites” look to write the wrongs of last season’s double disappointment against John Caulfield’s “Rebel Army”.
After a blistering start to their title defence with wins over Sligo Rovers, St. Patrick’s Athletic and Munster rivals Waterford FC, John Caulfield will have to make do without long-term absentee Johnny Dunleavy, while back-up striking option Josh O’Hanlon also misses out.
Dundalk have selection issues of their own as John Mountney won’t play a part for the hosts thanks to injury. Otherwise, captain Stephen O’Donnell returns to the fold alongside fellow experienced campaigner Brian Gartland.
PREDICTION: Dundalk 1-2 Cork City
Bohemian FC vs St. Patrick's Athletic
After both suffering defeats last time out against Derry City and Waterford FC respectively, Bohemians and St. Patrick’s Athletic will be looking to get their season’s back on track with a big Dublin derby victory at Dalymount Park.
Keith Long is likely to start with both Eoghan Stokes and Dinny Corcoran as the promising attacking duo look set to terrify all Premier Division defences in their wake. Dan Casey is also almost certain to feature having been recently named as a nominee in the SWAI Player of the Month for February, after impressive displays against Shamrock Rovers, Limerick and Derry City for the “Gypsies”.
Following a far from ideal start, Liam Buckley will be keen to rally his troops after the disappointing two-nil defeat away to Waterford FC at the RSC. Undoubtedly, Pat’s will be looking to replicate their four-nil win against their Dublin rivals from last season, with star man Conan Byrne looking to perform more heroics at the spiritual home of Irish football once again.
PREDICTION: Bohemians 2-2 St Patrick’s Athletic
Shamrock Rovers vs Derry City
Kicking off at the usual time of 8pm in Tallaght Stadium on Friday night, Stephen Bradley’s Shamrock Rovers side will look to build on their six goals to nil drubbing over Bray Wanderers with a win over Kenny Shiels’ Derry City side, who will be looking for their second victory of the season after a win in Dublin last time out against Keith Long’s Bohemians.
Rovers will head into the game with midfield maestro Greg Bolger a doubt, while former Irish International, Joey O’Brien looks set to be in contention for the Hoops for the very first time since his arrival during the off-season.
With the long-awaited return to the Brandywell just a week away now, Derry City will be looking to find some much-needed momentum ahead of their highly anticipated first game back at their historic home ground against Shamrock Rovers, who they beat twice in Tallaght last season.
PREDICTION: Shamrock Rovers 2-1 Derry City
Sligo Rovers vs Waterford FC
Having won two of their opening three games in the Premier Division, following promotion from the First Division at the end of last season, Waterford FC will look to build on a strong start to their 2018 campaign with a long trip up to the Showgrounds, where they face Ger Lyttle’s struggling “Bit O’Red” side.
Having bounced back from an opening day defeat against Limerick with a win over Kenny Shiels’ “Candystripes”, the “Bit O’ Red” succumbed to a four-one home defeat against Cork City last time out. Lyttle will have to make do without Rhys McCabe, who is suspended, while new signing Ally Roy is also doubt for the game against the divisions new boys.
After a fantastic start to life in the Premier Division with wins over both Derry City and St. Patrick’s Athletic, Alan Reynolds will be looking to keep the Waterford hype train going for another week at least with a victory up in the North-West. Reynolds will have to do this without the likes of Dean O’Halloran and Faysel Kasmi who miss out through injury.
PREDICTION: Sligo Rovers 0-2 Waterford FC
Limerick vs Bray Wanderers
A potentially huge game at the bottom of the table is due to take place at the Market’s Field tomorrow night, as Dave Mackey brings his “Seagulls” down to Shannonside in a game that is already being touted as a relegation six-pointer.
Tommy Barrett will have a welcome boost this weekend after the “Super Blues” confirmed that former Utrecht and Dutch Under-20 International, Barry Maguire has just joined the club and will be in contention for the game against Bray Wanderers. Following their eight-nil capitulation against Dundalk at Oriel Park in the last round of league matches played before Storm Emma’s fixture disruption, Limerick’s players will be out to prove a point to their loyal home fans in what is a potential season defining fixture at the foot of the Premier Division.
Bray will head into this game having been soundly beaten by a six-goal score-line against a Daniel Carr inspired Shamrock Rovers side at the Tallaght Stadium last time out. Crumbling in the second half against the Hoops, it remain to be seen if new manager, Dave Mackey will be able to find the solution to the County Wicklow clubs defensive woes. As of yet, no team news has been released by Bray Wanderers.
PREDICTION: Limerick 3-2 Bray Wanderers
For in depth build up and analysis of both this weekend games and Monday night's Premier Division fixtures, check out Series 2, Episode 3 of Between the Stripes LOI podcast, featuring interviews with Stephen O'Donnell, Aaron McEneff, John Sullivan and others (Also available on Itunes).