Sunday 18 February 2018

League of Ireland previews

Owen Heary is suspended but has a full-strength squad
Owen Heary is suspended but has a full-strength squad
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Bohemians face Bray Wanderers for the first game in charge for caretaker boss, Owen Heary.

Bray Wanderers v Bohemians

(Carlisle Grounds, 7.45)

League form: Bray WLLDD, Bohs DLLLL

Match odds: Bray 11/10, Bohs 12/5, Draw 9/4

Referee: T Connolly (Dublin)

Team news: Caretaker Bohs manager Owen Heary is suspended both on and off the pitch but, apart from himself, the man who replaces Aaron Callaghan has a full-strength squad, with new signings Mark Byrne and Dinny Corcoran also in contention. Bray have a clean bill of health.

Talking point: The Gypsies are hoping that Heary will provide what Callaghan was unable to in the last 11 games – a win.

The caretaker manager's input will be limited due to his ban but, given they play Bray, Drogheda, UCD and Cork City in their next four, they will be keenly aware of the need to pick up some form.

Verdict: Draw.

Cork City v Dundalk

(Turner's Cross, 7.45)

League form: Cork LWLWL, Dundalk WWLWW

Match odds: Cork 2/1, Dundalk 5/4, Draw 23/10

Referee: R Rogers (Dublin)

Team news: Kevin Burns, Kevin Murray, Darren Dennehy, Colin Healy and Shane Duggan are out for the hosts, but Gearoid Morrissey, Dan Murray and Danny Murphy return. Danny Morrissey is a doubt. Dundalk's Richie Towell and Andy Boyle are suspended. Keith Ward, John Mountney and Tiernan Mulvenna are injured, while Dane Massey and Chris Shields are doubts.

Talking point: Four points off the lead with none of the teams above them playing, the pressure is on Dundalk. Stephen Kenny will be looking to finish the night in second.

Verdict: Home win.

Shamrock Rovers v UCD

(Tallaght, 8.0)

League form: Shamrock Rovers WWWDW, UCD LLLWD

Match odds: Shamrock Rovers 2/9, UCD 10/1, Draw 5/1

Referee: P McLaughlin (Monaghan)

Team news: Rovers goalkeeper Barry Murphy (bruised ribs) and defender David Elebert (calf) remain out, while Trevor Croly has doubts over Conor McCormack (dead leg) and Pat Sullivan (groin). Mick Leahy (groin) and Tomas Boyle (hamstring) are out for UCD.

Talking point: UCD beat Shamrock Rovers when they last met in the league but the bookies are giving them little chance as Croly's side look to take advantage of the front-runners' week off. They should be six points off the top tonight.

Verdict: Home win.

Shelbourne v Limerick

(Tolka Park, 8.0)

League form: Shels LWLDW, Limerick LLWWD

Match odds: Shels 12/5, Limerick 23/10, Draw 21/10

Referee: A Kelly (Cork)

Team news: Paul Crowley's season appears over for Shels, while Robert Bayly and Garreth O'Connor are out. Dean Kelly returns, while Jamie McGlynn and Carl Walshe come into the squad. Stephen McGann, Pat Purcell and Jeffrey Judge are out for Limerick, but Rory Gaffney returns.

Talking point: Stuart Taylor wants Limerick to find some inspiration against a side they drew against earlier in the season. A point behind Bohs, John McDonnell will want Shels to be off the bottom before a new manager takes over at Dalymount.

Verdict: Home win.

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