Wednesday 22 November 2017

sse airtricity league previews

Galway Utd v Shamrock Rvs

Eamonn Deacy Park (7.45)

League form: Galway United WLLLD, Shamrock Rovers LWWLD

Match odds: Galway United 3/1, Shamrock Rovers Evens, Draw 11/10

Team news: José Garcia and Stephen Walsh are both ruled out for Galway with injury, while Evan Osam and Luke Byrne are Shamrock Rovers' two absentees.

Talking point: The optimism of spring seems a long way away now for Galway, who have faded away after their bright start to the campaign. While relegation is not a concern - at this stage last season it most certainly was - the reality is that Galway, at one point, were hoping to make it into Europe. Mid-table security may have been their ambition last year but it is regarded as a failure this time. Rovers, in contrast, are aiming for third spot. A win here would help their cause considerably.

Verdict: Away win

St Pat's v Bray Wds

Richmond Park (7.45)

League form: St Pat's DWWLD, Bray Wanderers DWWDL

Match odds: St Pat's 8/15, Bray Wanderers 7/2, Draw 13/5

Team news: St Pat's are without defender Sean Hoare who remains on international duty with the Republic of Ireland U-21 squad. However they are boosted by the return of top-scorer Christy Fagan from suspension.

Talking point: If it wasn't for the cup competitions, this season would be viewed as a write-off for St Pat's. At no stage have they threatened to show the consistency required to challenge for Europe, let alone the title. And yet they performed well in Europe, are in the League Cup final and stand a great chance of reaching the FAI Cup semi-finals. So hope remains. As for Bray, their recent good run came to a thumping end in Turner's Cross.

Verdict: Home win

Sligo Rovers v Dundalk

The Showgrounds (7.45)

League form: Sligo Rovers WWWLW, Dundalk WLLWW

Match odds: Sligo Rovers 2/1, Dundalk 5/6, Draw 5/2

Team news: Ciaran Kilduff is missing for Dundalk, while Darren Meenan and Robbie Benson are doubts. On the plus side, Daryl Horgan and Dane Massey return. Sligo's Raf Cretaro has to serve a suspension.

Talking point: The days when Dundalk were recording 7-0, 5-0 and 4-0 victories in the Premier Division seem like a long time ago. Mental fatigue has kicked in and one-goal victories are as much as they can expect these days. Certainly they'd take that if it was on offer now, given how Sligo have turned their season around after such a sloppy start. Four wins from their last five suggests this will be far from easy for the champions.

Verdict: Away win

Irish Independent

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