Sport Soccer

Saturday 24 March 2018

Airtricity League of Ireland previews

Garry Doyle

(Athlone Town Stadium, 7.45)


League form: Athlone Town LLLDL, Sligo Rovers WWWDW.

Odds: Athlone Town 9/1, Sligo Rovers 3/10, Draw 15/4. Ref: R Rogers (Dublin).

Team news: Athlone are missing Aidan Collins, whose shoulder injury continues to plague him. Sligo have a much longer absentee list, with Kieran Djilali (knee), Alan Keane (knee), Joseph Ndo (calf), Gavin Peers (knee) and Rafael Cretaro (calf) out.

Talking point: Sligo's resurgence after their appalling start is continuing to gather pace, but they have little margin for error left if they are to keep pace with the four sides ahead of them. Athlone have made forward strides under Keith Long but will do well to get anything out of this game.

Verdict: Away win.


(Oriel Park, 7.45)

League form: Dundalk DWLWW, Drogheda United LLLLW.

Odds: Dundalk 2/5, Drogheda United 15/2, Draw 3/1. Ref: P McLaughlin (Monaghan).

Team news: Dundalk have midfield worries now that John Mountney (groin) is likely to join Stephen O'Donnell (knee) on the treatment table. Stephen Maher, Michéal Schlingermann, Cathal Brady and Gavin Brennan are all unavailable for Drogheda, but Alan McNally returns.

Talking point: Having played 11 games since April 4, Dundalk now face a schedule of five matches in the next 16 days. Given the lengthy close-season and pointless mid-season break, the FAI really need to consider changing their football calendar. Verdict: Home win.


(Thomond Park, 7.45)

League form: Limerick DLDLL, Cork City WDLLW.

Odds: Limerick 4/1, Cork City 8/11, Draw. 23/10. Ref: T Connolly (Dublin).

Team news: Limerick have Sam Oji back from suspension but are still missing Shane Costelloe (back). Cork's Dan Murray (hamstring) is a doubt, while Darren Murphy (hamstring), Michael Rafter (ankle) and Danny Morrissey (ankle) are all definitely out.

Talking point: Craig Curran, who left Limerick by mutual consent last week and seems certain to join Cork City in July, said: "I have great time for the manager, fans and players at Limerick."

So why leave? "I can't go into details."

Verdict: Away win.

Irish Independent

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