Sunday 17 December 2017

League of Ireland previews

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Bohemians v Drogheda United

(Dalymount Park, 7.45)

League form: Bohs LLLLW, Drogheda LLLDD

Match odds: Bohs 2/1, Drogheda 13/10, Draw 11/5

Referee: R Rogers (Dublin)

Team news: Luke Byrne and Derek Pender are suspended for Bohs, so Anto Murphy looks likely to start at the back. Shane Murray (ankle) is a doubt. Drogheda have doubts over Alan Byrne, Alan McNally and Declan O'Brien. Eric Foley is still out and Michael Daly is suspended.

Talking point: Can Bohs build on last week's win over Bray and win two games in a row for the first time this season? The loss of Pender and Byrne will hurt them but Owen Heary got a response last weekend and Drogheda are seven without a win.

Verdict: Home win.

Dundalk v Bray Wanderers

(Oriel Park, 7.45)

League form: Dundalk WLWWD, Bray LLDDL

Match odds: Dundalk 8/15, Bray 5/1, Draw 11/4

Referee: P Tuite (Dublin)

Team news: Bray's Adam Mitchell is suspended, while Danny O'Connor and Shane O'Connor miss out. Kevin O'Connor returns, while new signing Stephen Quigley is available. Richie Towell and Andy Boyle return for Dundalk, who are without Keith Ward, while John Mountney, Tiarnan Mulvenna and Dane Massey are doubts.

Talking point: It is hard to believe that Stephen Kenny even dreamed of his team being in second going into August but that's where a win over struggling Bray would leave the Lilywhites with 11 games to go.

Verdict: Home win.

UCD v Shelbourne

(UCD Bowl, 7.45)

League form: UCD LLWDD, Shels WLDWW

Match odds: UCD 8/5, Shels 8/5, Draw 9/4

Referee: S Grant (Wexford)

Team news: Shels must do without the injured Paul Crowley and Gareth O'Connor, while Ian Ryan and Graham Gartland are suspended. Robert Bayly returns. UCD won't have the services of Mick Leahy (groin) and Robbie Creevy (thigh).

Talking point: Just three points separate these sides and bottom club Shels will be eyeing a big lift after their recent run of form. UCD are fourth from bottom currently, but Martin Russell and his Students know that all of those below them are eyeing them as the team they can beat and a result tonight would be a huge fillip for Shels.

Verdict: Away win.

St Patrick's Athletic v Cork City

(Richmond Park, 7.45, Setanta)

League form: St Pat's WWLWD, Cork WLWLD

Match odds: St Pat's 1/2, Cork 6/1, Draw 14/5

Referee: P Sutton (Clare)

Team news: St Pat's have a full deck to choose from, but Cork travel without Kevin Burns, Kevin Murray, Darren Dennehy and Colin Healy. Adam Rundle and John Dunleavy are doubts, and family commitments mean Denis Behan and John Kavanagh miss out.

Talking point: Considering the disappointment of their European exertions, a draw was a good result in Sligo last week for St Pat's and, as results elsewhere went their way, Liam Buckley's side must be confident that they can go from strength to strength.

Verdict: Home win.

Irish Independent

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