Tuesday 30 May 2017

Who will be in the top tier?

Fourteen teams were awarded Premier Division licences but the top flight only has room for 10.

Bohemians

After a winter of discontent, made it through with a drastically reduced budget. Pat Fenlon is frantically trying to sign some experienced pros, while the club continue to try and resolve the situation with Dalymount Park.

Bray Wanderers

Survival in the dramatic play-off against Monaghan United meant Bray were never likely to be in trouble. Have re-signed squad that kept them up.

Cork City

The rebuilding continues in the First Division, but the fans running the reborn club will be delighted that their off-field structures merited a place in the Premier Division. Now they need the team to get them there.

Derry City

Back at the top after a year in the wilderness, Stephen Kenny has bolstered his squad with the returning Bohs duo Ruaidhri Higgins and Gareth McGlynn, adding to his youthful set-up.

Drogheda United

Last year's bottom club looked in a hopeless state in September. The demise of Sporting Fingal handed them a lifeline and things look brighter under the stewardship of the fans, who have raised more than €80,000 in a month.

Dundalk

Profiting from others' woes, snapped up Bohs duo Jason Byrne and Mark Quigley, and Fingal trio Shaun Maher, Greg Bolger and Colin Hawkins.

Monaghan United

After the play-off heartbreak, the Mons look like they are back in the top flight pending Galway United's appeal.

Shamrock Rovers

The champions have built an imposing squad for the new season.

Shelbourne

They might have a Premier Division licence, but Shels remain in the First Division for a fifth season.

Sligo Rovers

After the boost of their cup double, Paul Cook has bolstered his squad and they look like the main challengers to the other Rovers.

St Patrick's Athletic

Pete Mahon has strengthened, but not as much as he would have liked. The purse strings are tight.

UCD

Benefited from Fingal's collapse and made their Setanta Sports Cup bow last night. Have had to cut costs, however, and without Greg Bolger, the McMillan brothers and Ciaran Kilduff they could struggle on the pitch.

Athlone Town

Awarded a licence, but on the pitch they don't look close after finishing 10th in the First Division. Lissywollen has one of the best stands in the league, but the club have never been able to find a team to match it.

Longford Town

Finished ninth and haven't been close to promotion in some time since being relegated in 2007. Tony Cousins is building a squad to compete in the First Division.

Irish Independent

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