Sunday 4 December 2016

League of Ireland previews

Published 02/05/2011 | 05:00

Dundalk v Shamrock Rovers

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(Oriel Park, 2.0)

League form: Dundalk WLDWD, Shamrock Rovers WLDWW

Match odds: Dundalk 10/3, Shamrock Rovers 5/6, Draw 23/10

Referee: D Tomney [Dublin]

Team news: Dundalk have a raft of problems with Greg Bolger, Stephen Maher and Eoghan Osbourne still out, Shane Guthrie and Dean Bennett 'very doubtful,' and Colin Hawkins, Daniel Kearns and Jason Byrne all a concern. The visitors are without Chris Turner and hamstring victims, Gary Twigg, Stephen O'Donnell and Craig Sives.

Talking point: Rovers struggled at Oriel Park last year, shipping five goals in a remarkable game that set up their erratic title-run in. This is a chance to banish those demons.

Verdict: Draw

Sligo Rovers v Derry City

(Showgrounds, 3.0)

League form: Sligo Rovers WWDLL, Derry City WWWDW

Match Odds: Sligo 5/4, Derry 21/10, Draw 11/5

Referee: A Kelly (Cork)

Team news: The hosts have no suspension or injury concerns. For Derry, Ruairi Harkin and Barry Molloy remain on the sidelines, while Stewart Greacen is banned for this North-West encounter.

Talking point: Sligo were supposed to put it up to champions Shamrock Rovers, but need to bounce back -- after two league defeats -- against a Derry side who have lost just once in nine games and are starting to make Foyleside optimists wonder if they can mount a real challenge on their return to the top flight.

Verdict: Home win

St Pat's Ath v Galway United

(Richmond Park, 7.30)

League form: St Pat's DLDDW, Galway LDLLL

Match odds: St Pat's 4/9, Galway 8/1, Draw 13/5

Referee: N Doyle (Dublin)

Team news: The Saints lost Shane McFaul to injury in the early stages of Friday's win over Drogheda, with Stephen Bradley and Anto Murphy in line to come in. Skipper Conor Kenna is still out. Sean Connor has concerns about Shaun Maher and Bobby Ryan who may join Joseph Yoffe and Gary Curran on the injury list.

Talking point: Pete Mahon's side were presented with a fine chance of six points this weekend to regain some momentum and, with the first three achieved, they must capitalise on Galway's obvious weaknesses.

Verdict: Home win

Bohemians v Bray Wds

(Dalymount Park, 7.45)

League form: Bohemians DWDWL, Bray Wanderers LWWWD

Match odds: Bohemians 5/6, Bray 10/3, Draw 21/10

Referee: D Hancock (Dublin)

Team news: Keith Buckley sits it out for Bohs after his controversial dismissal against Derry. Mark Rossiter (hamstring) is unavailable, with Christy Fagan, Barry Murphy and Glenn Cronin still on the way back. Aidan Price is a doubt. Bray are without Gary Shaw, Darren Quigley and Stephen Brennan.

Talking point: These sides have been operating at different ends of the table in recent years. Now, they are closer together with Bray seeking to prove that their fine start to the season is no fluke.

Verdict: Draw

UCD v Drogheda United

(Belfield Bowl, 7.45)

League form: UCD LLDLW, Drogheda LDLLL

Match odds: UCD 4/7, Drogheda 5/1, Draw 5/2

Referee: T Connolly (Dublin)

Team news: David O'Connor and Mark Langtry are restricted to a watching brief for UCD, with Robbie Creevy facing a late fitness test. A lack of serious injury difficulties is just about the only thing going Drogheda's way at the moment.

Talking point: Can Mick Cooke's men stop the rot? On paper, this game is one they would be targeting for a positive return, yet UCD took three points from Sligo here on Friday. Something Drogheda wouldn't be capable of in their current state, with just two points from nine games.

Verdict: Home win

Irish Independent

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