SSE Airtricity League preview: Dublin derby gets new season underway
Ahead of the new Airtricity Premier Division season, Aidan Fitzmaurice of The Herald previews all the action:
Bohemians v Shamrock Rvs
(Dalymount Park, 7.30,
live on RTé 2)
Team News: New Bohs signing Ryan Swan will be out for up to six months with a knee injury. Bohs yesterday completed the signing of ex-Leeds striker Eoghan Stokes, who had played a trial match for Rovers last Saturday, but he will be lacking match practice if his international clearance comes though in time. Darragh Leahy is likely to make his debut in defence. Trevor Clarke serves a suspension for Rovers, but otherwise the Hoops will be a full strength, with fit-again Gary Shaw sure of big welcome back from their supporters after a long lay-off.
Talking Point: Rovers have enjoyed most of their trips to Dalymount of late, with just one defeat away to Bohs in the last five league games. Bohs could claim to have the edge in terms of derby experience, with new Rovers men like Ethan Boyle and Ally Gilchrist getting their first taste of the derby. A nervy night and a draw likely.
Match Odds: Bohs 3/1, Rovers 1/1, Draw 9/4
St Patrick’s Ath v Cork City
(Richmond Park, 7.45)
Team News: Early blow for Pat’s as Killian Brennan and new signing Thomas Byrne are injured. Dubliner Josh O’Hanlon is likely to miss out on a Cork debut against his former club, while Garry Buckley, Johnny Dunleavy are definitely out but new boys like Barry McNamee make their debuts.
Talking Point: Bar one season since their return to the top flight, Cork have lost at least once to Pat’s over the course of a league campaign but City looked very strong in the curtain-raiser against Dundalk last week and will expect an away win as a new-look Saints side bed in.
Match Odds: St Pat’s 3/1, Cork 20/23, draw 5/2
Verdict: Away win
Waterford v Derry City
Team News: A full squad is available to Waterford boss Alan Reynolds, so there could be debuts for new signings Niall Corbet, Dave Webster, Rory Feely and Gavan Holohan, but the main interest will focus on Paul Keegan, who will be a key midfield figure. City hope to have Ronan Curtis fit but midfielder David Hopkirk is absent.
Talking Point: Apart from the pressures of a long-overdue return to the top flight, the challenge for Waterford this season will be to bed in so many new faces, Derry tend to start the season well, so an away win is well within their reach.
Match Odds: Waterford 31/20, Derry 15/8, draw 21/10.
Verdict: Away win
Dundalk v Bray Wanderers
(Oriel Park, 7.45)
Team News: Dundalk hope to have the paperwork completed to have new signing Dan Cleary in the squad here, Stephen O’Donnell misses out through injury, while Bray prepare to hand debuts to their batch of new signings.
Talking Point: Very messy off-season for Bray and with a goalkeeper (Aaron Dillon) signed only days ago, it’s still a bedding-in period for a new-look Wanderers who could struggle on the Oriel surface.
Match Odds: Dundalk 2/9, Bray 11/1, draw 5/1
Verdict: Home win
Who is your sportstar of the year?
Vote in the Irish Independent Sport Star Awards and you could win the ultimate sports prize.
Prizes include, a trip to Old Trafford to watch Man United take on Liverpool in the Premier League, tickets to Ireland's home games in the Six Nations, All Ireland football and hurling final tickets and much more.