Tuesday 21 November 2017

League of Ireland previews

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell


(Turner's Cross, 7.45)

Form guide: Cork City DLLWW, Derry City LWLWL

Odds: Cork City 15/8, Derry City 7/5, Draw 11/5

Referee: S Grant (Wexford)

Team news: The hosts welcome back Daryl Horgan, Garry Buckley and Ciaran Kilduff, and Gearoid Morrrissey is also expected to feature. Derry, who have released full-back Dermot McCaffrey, are missing Stewart Greacen, Kevin Deery, Thomas Crawley and Sean Houston, while Shane McEleney and Ryan McBride face late fitness tests.

Talking point: Derry's title hopes are hanging by a thread and Declan Devine has come in for some criticism in recent weeks. He needs a response here. Cork, on the other hand, are trying to salvage some credibility from a disappointing campaign.

Verdict: Home win

Drogheda Utd v Bray Wanderers

(Hunky Dorys Park, 7.45)

Form guide: Drogheda United DDDWW, Bray Wanderers LLDLL

Odds: Drogheda United 4/7, Bray Wanderers 5/1, Draw 13/5

Referee: P Tuite (Dublin)

Team news: Drogheda are two strikers down with Declan O'Brien banned and Graham Rusk injured. Defender Alan McNally has recovered from a broken finger. Daire Doyle and Eoin Hyland are providing Pat Devlin with some concern but Jason Byrne has overcome a knock.

Talking point: Drogheda have reached an awkward stage of the season where they are effectively playing for pride in the league, with the FAI Cup offering a real chance of glory. Bray have more to play for, given their plight; will Drogheda respond to the challenge?

Verdict: Draw

Shelbourne v Shamrock Rovers

(Tolka Park, 8.0)

Form guide: Shelbourne WWDLL, Shamrock Rovers DDLLL

Odds: Shelbourne 7/2, Shamrock Rovers 3/4, Draw 5/2

Referee: N Doyle (Dublin)

Team news: Shels remain without Paul Crowley, Brian Shortall, Mark Leech and Jack Memery through injury, and Glenn Cronin is suspended. Robert Bayly and Brian Gannon are available again. The Hoops are without Richard Brush but are hopeful that Conor Powell (foot), Ronan Finn (groin) and Mark Quigley (knee) will make it.

Talking point: If Rovers don't get a move on, then they are going to have to win the FAI Cup to get into Europe. Trevor Croly's men will have to make a statement of intent against a relegation-threatened Shels side fighting for their lives.

Verdict: Away win

St Patrick's Athletic v Bohemians

(Richmond Park, 7.45)

Form guide: St Patrick's Athletic DWDWW, Bohemians WDLLW

Odds: St Patrick's Athletic 4/11, Bohemians 8/1, Draw 16/5

Referee: A Kelly (Cork)

Team news: The Saints are in good health, with John Russell's ankle the only concern. The absence of the suspended Dave Mulcahy is a big setback for Bohs, but they do have Ryan McEvoy, Ciaran Nangle and Karl Moore back in the fold. Dave Scully is injured.

Talking point: Bohs have performed reasonably well in Dublin derbies this year, but without the presence of Mulcahy, do they have the street smarts to frustrate the league leaders? The Saints need to lift their performance level from last week's cup win.

Verdict: Home win

UCD v Dundalk

(Belfield Park, 7.45)

Form guide: UCD DLWLW, Dundalk DWWWW

Odds: UCD 10/3, Dundalk 4/5, Draw 12/5

Referee: T Connolly (Dublin)

Team news: UCD should have the team which triumphed in Limerick last time out available, while Dundalk are also in good fettle with long-term victim Keith Ward out and medium-term absentee John Mountney close to returning. Brian Gartland comes into contention after sitting out the eventful FAI Cup win over Limerick.

Talking point: It comes down to bottle now for Dundalk. They've shown the quality to see off fellow title challengers in recent weeks; now they have to do the business against a team they are expected to beat as the pressure grows.

Verdict: Away win

Irish Independent

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