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Dundalk are missing Darren Meenan due to a suspension

Dundalk are missing Darren Meenan due to a suspension

SPORTSFILE

Dundalk are missing Darren Meenan due to a suspension

Dundalk v Longford Town, Oriel Park (19.45)

League Form: Dundalk WWDDW, Longford Town DWWWW.

Match Odds: Dundalk 1/3, Longford Town 15/2, Draw 15/4.

Referee: N Doyle (Dublin)

Team News: Dundalk are missing Darren Meenan (suspension) and Stephen O'Donnell (knee injury)

Talking Point: Two issues dominate this fixture, firstly whether Dundalk will be mentally fatigued after spending two years chasing a dream and a title, and secondly whether Longford will be capable of taking the step-up to Premier Division level. On the first issue, Richie Towell is confident Dundalk can avoid repeating the mistakes so many champions have made before. "We aren't going to be complacent at all," said Towell. "We are confident in ourselves." Issue number two was addressed by Dundalk's David McMillan. "Longford have some good senior pros who have been around the league for a long time. They will do well." Doing well at Oriel Park will probably be beyond them, though.

Verdict: Home win

Galway United v Derry City

Eamonn Deacy Park (19.45)

League Form: Galway United DWWWW, Derry City DDLLL

Match Odds: Galway United 29/20, Derry City 7/4, Draw 9/4

Referee: P McLaughlin (Monaghan)

Team News: Suspension rules out Galway's Alex Byrne. Worse again, Killian Cantwell (knee) and Ger Hanley (Achilles) have also been ruled out for the Tribesmen, while Mark Ludden is a doubt. Derry, meanwhile, have even greater problems with three players, Ryan McBride, Stephen Dooley and Mark Timlin, all suspended and both Cillian Morrison and Nathan Boyle ruled out. Both Anthony Elding and Shaun Kelly face late fitness tests.

Talking Point: Reassembled as a club just 12 months ago, and promoted to the Premier Division at the first attempt, few expect Galway to cope with the demands of top-flight life. Yet this is as gentle an opener as it gets. Derry were poor last year and have since lost Rory Patterson, their leading scorer. Add in the absence of five first-teamers and you can make a case for an upset.

Verdict: Home win

Shamrock Rvs v St Pat's Ath

Tallaght Stadium (19.45)

League Form: Shamrock Rovers WWDWW, St Patrick's DWWLW

Match Odds: Shamrock Rovers 7/5, St Pat's 15/8, Draw 11/5

Referee: P Sutton (Clare)

Team News: St Pat's have Sean Hoare and Killian Brennan suspended and will give late fitness tests to Ger O'Brien (hamstring) and Jamie McGrath (groin). There is also a doubt over whether Togo international Cyril Guedjé, who joined the club just yesterday, will receive his international clearance in time to play. Rovers have five players - Gavin Brennan, Ryan Brennan, Keith Fahey, Stephen McPhail and Barry Murphy - ruled out by suspension.

Talking Point: While St Pat's have won the more prestigious trophies over the course of the last two years, in head-to-head meetings Rovers have edged matters, winning five, drawing two and losing three of their ten meetings in four different competitions. Suspension robs the game of seven key players, an issue which will hurt Rovers more.

Verdict: Draw

Irish Independent