Hoops 'B' make First Division bow with trek to Ramblers
SHAMROCK ROVERS' reserves will kick off life in the First Division with a trip to Cobh Ramblers on Saturday March 8.
The addition of the Hoops 'B' team to make up the numbers in the second tier has caused some consternation, especially as they can use players who are members of their Premier Division squad.
Trevor Croly's men kick off their season at home to Derry City 24 hours earlier, and 'B' team boss Colin Hawkins will be able to include three outfield players and one goalkeeper from the first-team squad away to Cobh if he so wishes.
Rovers will play their First Division home games in Tallaght on Sunday afternoons, and there are some weekends where both teams will feature at home, the first coming at the end of March with the Hoops hosting Sligo Rovers on the 28th and relegated Shelbourne due for an unusual Dublin derby 48 hours later.
The Hoops' second string cannot be promoted or compete in cup competitions.
Meanwhile, the newly formed Galway FC begin life with the visit of Longford Town to Eamonn Deacy Park on March 7. Tommy Dunne will lock horns with his cousin, Tony Cousins, who is in charge of a promotion-chasing Longford side bolstered by the addition of ex-Shamrock Rovers man Stephen Rice.
Elsewhere on the opening day, Finn Harps welcome Waterford to Donegal, while Wexford Youths travel to Tolka Park to take on a Shels team that has been strengthened by the addition of John Sullivan, most recently of Dundalk and a member of the PFAI squad which travelled to Norway last week.
The President's Cup returns this year with the support of Michael D Higgins, and 2013 league champions St Patrick's Athletic will have home advantage for their meeting with FAI Cup winners Sligo Rovers at Richmond Park on Sunday, March 4.