Thursday 22 February 2018

SSE Airtricity League previews

Dundalk v Galway Utd Oriel Park (8.0)

'Galway Ryan Connolly is doubtful with a knee injury' Photo: Sportsfile
'Galway Ryan Connolly is doubtful with a knee injury' Photo: Sportsfile

Garry Doyle

League form: Dundalk DWWWW, Galway United LWDWD

Match odds: Dundalk 4/11, Galway United 15/2, Draw 7/2

Referee: Ray Matthews (Mullingar)

Team news: Galway pair Stephen Folan (back injury) and Padraic Cunningham (knee) are both unavailable, while captain Ryan Connolly is doubtful with a calf injury. Kevin Devaney (leg) is out but Swedish centre-half Armin Aganovic is finally available again after spending three months on the injury-list. Significantly, Vinny Faherty, both Galway and the League's top scorer, has been given the all-clear after coming through the return to play protocol. Dundalk are missing Ciaran Kilduff, Ciaran O'Connor and Stephen O'Donnell. Patrick McEleney is a doubt.

Talking point: Galway have proven their capacity to do well on the road this season. Getting something out of Dundalk is altogether trickier, though.

Verdict: Home win

Finn Harps v Bohemians

Finn Park (8.0)

League form: Finn Harps LLWLD, Bohs WWLLL

Match odds: Finn Harps 12/5, Bohs 6/5, Draw 21/10

Referee: David McKeon (Dublin)

Team news: Bohs are once again without Ismahil Akinade (hamstring), Jason Caffrey (hamstring) and Adam Evans (virus). James Kavanagh (virus) will also sit this one out, but Eoin Wearen (hip) is back in contention. For Harps, Dave Scully returns after missing the trip to Wexford through suspension. However, Josh Mailey (groin), Micheal Rafter (ankle), Raymond Foy (hamstring) and Matthew Crossan (knee) remain sidelined. Damien McNulty, Kevin McHugh, Adam Hanlon and Keith Cowan are doubts.

Talking point: Harps' home record - three wins from five - is fairly decent, whereas Bohemians' away form - four defeats from five - is poor, as is their failure to score in six of their 10 games this year.

Verdict: Home win

St Patrick's ath v Derry City

Richmond Park (7.45)

League form: St Pat's DWWLL, Derry City DWDWL

Match odds: St Pat's 6/5, Derry City 23/10, Draw 11/5

Referee: Tomas Connolly (Dublin)

Team news: St Pat's remain without the services of Christy Fagan, their top scorer, who is injured, as are both Jack Bayly (thigh strain) and Conor O'Malley (ankle).

Talking point: This is a key moment in both clubs' seasons. With Dundalk and Cork proving to be more consistent than anyone else - for the third season in a row - a defeat for either team here would effectively kill their title ambitions. No-one expected Derry to even have those ambitions, but they have rallied impressively after their opening-day loss in Ballybofey. Having lost last week, in Sligo, this will be another test of their character. As for Pat's, they need any sort of win to get their campaign back on track after losing in Bray and Cork.

Verdict: Draw

Irish Independent

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