Monday 19 March 2018

Dundalk v Derry City

(Oriel Park, 2.0, Setanta)

League form: Dundalk DLLLL, Derry WDWDD

Match odds: Dundalk 11/2, Derry 1/2, Draw 11/4.

Referee: N Doyle (Dublin)

Team news: Dundalk are without Carl McHugh, away with Ireland's U-19s, suspended pair Dean Bennett and Greg Bolger and long-term absentees Colin Hawkins, Eoghan Osborne and Stephen Maher, while Marc Griffin is likely to miss out with a groin injury. Eddie McCallion (calf) and Owen Morrision (calf) are out for Derry, while Ryan McBride (groin) is a doubt.

Talking point: Derry's title charge has been flagging in recent weeks, but Dundalk's form is desperate and they seem to have checked out for the season -- good news for the Candystripes, who need a win ahead of Wednesday's showdown with Shamrock Rovers.

Verdict: Away win.

Bohemians v UCD

(Dalymount Park, 7.0)

League form: Bohemians WWLDD, UCD WLWWW

Match odds: Bohemians 4/11, UCD 15/2, Draw 10/3.

Referee: G Kelly (Cork)

Team news: Aidan Downes is suspended for Bohemians, while Killian Brennan, Owen Heary, Mark Rossiter and Keith Buckley are all expected to miss out through injury. Sean Harding (groin), Cillian Morrison (hip) and Sean Russell (ribs) are all out for UCD, but Ciaran Nangle may be in contention for selection.

Talking point: Pat Fenlon's focus is now on grabbing third place and last Wednesday's draw at Tallaght will have given the squad a major lift. However, they will tread warily tonight as the Students beat them a fortnight ago and are bidding for a fourth win on the spin as they look to reel in Dundalk in seventh spot.

Verdict: Draw.

St Pat's Athletic v Sligo Rvrs

(Richmond Park, 7.30)

League form: St Pat's Ath WDWDL, Sligo Rovers WWWWW

Match odds: St Pat's 21/10, Sligo 6/5, Draw 9/4.

Referee: T Connolly (Dublin)

Team news: High-flying Sligo have no injury worries. In contrast, St Pat's are struggling. Sean O'Connor (hamstring) is out, while Shane McFaul (virus), Dave Mulcahy, Danny North (both hamstring) and Daryl Kavanagh (knee) are doubts. On the plus side, Stephen Bradley returns.

Talking point: The league's form team, Sligo are on a major roll with six wins in their last seven games. Their biggest tests await, however, with this the first of three trips to the capital that will define their season. Beat Pat's and they can look forward to a league and cup double header at Dalymount with relish; lose and the initiative moves back to Tallaght.

Verdict: Away win.

Galway Utd v Drogheda Utd

(Terryland Park, 7.45)

League form: Galway LDLLL, Drogheda LLDLL

Match odds: Galway 3/1, Drogheda 5/6, Draw 5/2.

Referee: P Sutton (Clare)

Team news: Galway are without Johnny Keane (knee), Victor Collins (Achilles), Eric Holland and Laurence Gaughan (quad), while Ronan Caldwell is suspended. Yob Son (dead leg) faces a late fitness test. Jack Flynn and Colin O'Brien remain out for Drogheda and Brian Gannon is suspended. Robert Duggan and Mark O'Brien return.

Talking point: Who will be the Drogheda United player to score the 100th goal conceded by Galway United this season? They sit on 99, a horror statistic, reflective of one of the worst seasons in Premier Division history and the overall situation at Terryland Park that must leave the fans still turning up in a state of depression.

Verdict: Away win.

Bray Wds v Shamrock Rvs

(Carlisle Grounds, tomorrow,3.0)

League form: Bray LLWLD, Shamrock Rovers LDWWD

Match odds: Bray 3/2, Shamrock Rovers 4/9, Draw 3/1.

Referee: D McKeon (Dublin)

Team news: Bray, Shamrock Rovers' bogey side, are at full strength for their latest attempt to stifle the champions, while Hoops' manager Michael O'Neill is again without Dean Kelly and is sweating on the fitness of Craig Sives who is struggling with a groin injury.

Talking point: Bray Wanderers' form has fallen away since beating Shamrock Rovers twice in the earlier part of the season, and Rovers should get back to winning ways tomorrow -- but they take the Seagulls for granted at their peril. Devlin's men took the lead at Tallaght two weeks ago and, but for a dodgy red card, could have caused a third upset.

Verdict: Away win.

Irish Independent

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