Tuesday 20 March 2018

SSE Airtricity league previews

'Dave Mulcahy (p) returns to the Bohs side after a virus kept him out of last week’s victory over Bray.' Photo: Sportsfile
'Dave Mulcahy (p) returns to the Bohs side after a virus kept him out of last week’s victory over Bray.' Photo: Sportsfile

Garry Doyle

Bohemians v Shamrock Rvs Dalymount Park (7.45pm)

League form: Bohs LDLWW, Shamrock Rovers WWLWL

Match odds: Bohs 15/8, Shamrock Rovers 6/4, Draw 21/10

Referee: P McLaughlin (Monaghan)

Team news: Dave Mulcahy returns to the Bohs side after a virus kept him out of last week's victory over Bray. However, Mark Quigley (quad), Jake Kelly (virus) and Jason Caffrey (hamstring) are unlikely to play. Rovers have doubts hanging over Gary Shaw, Dean Clarke and Luke Byrne.

Talking point: Heavily criticised by their manager after a disastrous performance against Derry last week, the Shamrock Rovers squad face a massive test here. Another failure to perform will not be tolerated by Pat Fenlon. Bohs, meanwhile, are seeking to continue their excellent recent derby record, having lost just one of the last 11 league meetings.

Verdict: Draw

Dundalk v Sligo Rovers

Oriel Park (7.45)

League form: Dundalk WLWDW, Sligo Rovers DDLDD

Match odds: Dundalk 1/4, Sligo 10/1, Draw 9/2

Referee: B Connolly (Dublin)

Team news: Dundalk have to plan without Robbie Benson and Patrick McEleney, while Ciaran O'Connor's foot injury will keep him out for two months. Tim Clancy (groin) and Gavin Peers (thigh) look set to overcome their respective injuries to start for Sligo.

Talking point: Even though they have scored just three times this season, and even though they are visiting the home of the back-to-back champions and even though they are the only Premier Division side not to have won this season, Sligo manager Dave Robertson is claiming his team will approach this game with confidence. "We have been playing well," he said. While true, their execution in front of goal has been poor.

Verdict: Home win

Finn Harps v Bray Wanderers

Finn Park (8.0)

League form: Finn Harps DLWLL, Bray Wanderers LDWLL

Match odds: Finn Harps 6/4, Bray Wanderers 15/8, Draw 21/10

Referee: R Matthews (Mullingar)

Team news: Harps will again be without Josh Mailey, Raymond Foy and Barry Molloy, while Damien McNulty, Dave Scully and Ethan Boyle are doubts after suffering slight injuries in last Monday's game against St Pat's. Bray have Alan McNally ruled out through suspension. Mick Daly, Mark Sammon, Conor Earley and Daniel Blackbyrne are doubts.

Talking point: "It's too early in the season to be talking about a six-pointer," said Finn Harps manager Ollie Horgan. But is it? Aside from boosting morale, victory would re-enforce the Donegal team's belief that on their own patch, they are capable of maximising their resources, while also opening up a six-point gap on Bray.

Verdict: Home win

Galway Utd v Cork City

Eamonn Deacy Park (7.45)

League form: Galway United DLWLW, Cork City LWWWD

Referee: R Rogers (Dublin)

Team news: Galway's Armin Aganovic (knee), Enda Curran (groin) and Kevin Devaney (virus) are all doubts, while Cork have doubts hanging over John Kavanagh, Kevin O'Connor, Mark O'Sullivan, Danny Morrissey and Alan Bennett.

Talking point: No-one predicted this kind of start from Galway - then again no-one predicted the season Connacht Rugby would have either, so perhaps they can continue to surprise and continue to beat teams on home soil. Three wins from three games at Eamonn Deacy Park lets you know where their strengths lie. Cork is their toughest test yet, though. "They are going to be challenging for the title and will pose a tough test," said Galway manager Tommy Dunne.

Verdict: Away win

St Pat's ATH v Wexford Youths

Richmond Park (7.45)

League form: St Pat's WWLDW, Wexford Youths LDLWD

Match odds: St Pat's 8/13, Wexford Youths 9/2, Draw 21/10

Referee: R Harvey (Dublin)

Team news: St Pat's reserve keeper Conor O'Malley is certainly ruled out while doubts remain over Ger O'Brien, Keith Treacy and Darren Dennehy. Wexford are still missing Shane Dunne, Peter Higgins and Aiden Keenan. However, the good news is that Johnny Bonner returns.

Talking point: Having performed above expectations thus far this season, Wexford, nonetheless will be cursing their habit of conceding late goals in six of their seven league games to date. Had they held out, they would have an extra six points banked. As it is, they are more than capable of surviving and are certainly capable of making life uncomfortable for St Pat's.

Verdict: Home win

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport