Thursday 8 December 2016

sse airtricity premier league previews Garry Doyle

Published 23/10/2015 | 02:30

Cork City v Dundalk

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Turners Cross (7.45)

League form: Cork City DDDLW, Dundalk DWWDD

Match odds: Cork City 15/8, Dundalk 7/5, Draw 9/4

Referee: P Tuite (Dublin)

Team news: Cork's John Kavanagh, Danny Morrissey, Gavan Holohan, Colin Healy, Liam Miller, Garry Buckley and Alan Bennett are all either injured or being deliberately rested ahead of next month's FAI Cup final, while City boss John Caulfield also has doubts around Billy Dennehy, Mark McNulty and Mark O'Sullivan. As a result Chiedozie Ogbene, Craig Donnellan, Cian Coleman, Connor Ellis and Conor McCarthy have been promoted to the match-day squad, while Alan Smith is on standby to replace McNulty. Darren Meenan is suspended for Dundalk, while Richie Towell and Brian Gartland may return.

Talking point: A dress rehearsal for the FAI Cup final or an end-of-season non-event? The teams' line-ups will reveal all.

Verdict: Away win

Derry City v Bohemians

Brandywell Stadium (7.45)

League form: Derry City LWDWW, Bohs DDDWW

Match odds: Derry City 23/20, Bohs 12/5, Draw 11/5

Referee: D McKeon (Dublin)

Team news: Bohs pair Derek Prendergast and James O'Brien return from injury but Lorcan Fitzgerald remains out and Roberto Lopes is suspended. Stephen Best is also out. Derry's Rob Cornwall is suspended, while Patrick McEleney is out with an illness.

Talking point: Averaging exactly one point per game until Paul Hegarty was placed in charge, Derry have subsequently secured 10 points from four games under his watch to secure their Premier Division safety. Bohs, meanwhile, need two wins, and two more defeats for St Pat's, to secure a European place. "We have tried to create an environment where there are no excuses and the players have bought into that," said manager Keith Long. "Our job is to make them believe they can achieve, and we have largely managed to do that."

Verdict: Home win

Drogheda utd v Longford town

United Park (7.45)

League form: Drogheda United WLDDL, Longford Town LDLDW

Match odds: Drogheda United 7/5, Longford Town 19/10, Draw 11/5

Referee: P Sutton (Clare)

Team news: Drogheda's Lloyd Buckley and Ger Pender are injury doubts, while Robert O'Reilly and Lee Duffy are suspended. Longford travel to Drogheda with only absentee, Noel Haverty.

Talking point: Longford's form has been patchy all season - just one win in 12 preceded last weekend's superb win in Cork (easily their best of the year) - and if they get a draw tomorrow, they will have secured their Premier Division status for another year, which was their stated goal before the campaign began. Drogheda, meanwhile, have recorded just one win from their last 13 league games. Another victory could be enough to keep them safe. Can they be trusted to deliver it, though? "We firmly believe we can do what is required," said caretaker manager Mark Kinsella. "We need a big crowd to get behind the lads."

Verdict: Draw

Limerick v Shamrock Rovers

Markets Field (7.45), Live RTE 2

League form: Limerick WDLWL, Shamrock Rovers LWWDD

Match odds: Limerick 10/3, Shamrock Rovers 8/11, Draw 14/5

Referee: G Kelly (Cork)

Team news: Limerick will be at full strength, while Maxime Blanchard is Rovers' only injury concern. Luke Byrne returns.

Talking point: Is this the night Limerick's brave comeback ends? On recent form, you'd have to say no. The collection of 20 points from their last 10 games is a higher points-per-game ratio than Rovers have managed over the course of the season, highlighting precisely why Limerick should still be backed to survive. If only they had not been asleep for the opening 21 games of the season then they would not be in this trouble. What doesn't help their survival prospects is the fact they face such strong opposition this evening. However Rovers, while destined to finish third, have just two league wins from their last eight games.

Verdict: Draw

St Pat's ath v Sligo Rovers

Richmond Park (7.45)

League form: St Pat's LLLWL, Sligo Rovers DWLDL

Match odds: St Pat's 3/4, Sligo Rovers 10/3, Draw 13/5

Referee: A Buttimer (Cork)

Team news: Sligo have an injury crisis, with John Russell, Jason Hughes and Jeff Henderson all ruled out, while doubts hang over Alan Keane, Regan Donelon and Richard Brush, who suffered a concussion in training. Worse again, Tim Clancy is suspended. St Pat's are missing Jason McGuinness (knee) and Greg Bolger (hamstring), while Brendan Clarke (finger) is a doubt.

Talking point: With seven defeats from their last eight league games, St Pat's have fallen apart and while an overhaul of their squad is both expected, and required, Sligo don't have room in their heads to consider anyone's plight bar their own. The initial bounce brought about by Micky Adams' arrival has cooled and having taken just one point from their last three games, they remain in big trouble.

Verdict: Away win

Irish Independent

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