Saturday 26 May 2018

sse airtricity league previews GARRY DOYLE

Cork City v Finn Harps

Turner's Cross (7.45pm)

League form: Cork City WWDDD, Finn Harps DWLLW

Match odds: Cork City 1/4, Finn Harps 10/1, Draw 17/4

Referee: Padraigh Sutton (Clare)

Team news: Finn Harps are missing Barry Molloy, Josh Mailey, Keith Cowan, Tommy McMonagle, Adam Hanlon and Michael Rafter. Cork's John Dunleavy, Michael McSweeney and Mark O'Sullivan are doubts. John Kavanagh is ruled out.

Talking point: Eight games in and Cork's season has yet to begin. That breakthrough win over Dundalk should have been the launch of a title challenge but instead has preceded three underwhelming draws. "Each game was winnable," lamented their manager John Caulfield yesterday. Not as winnable, though, as this against an injury-ravaged Harps side.

Verdict: Home win

Derry City v Bohemians

Brandywell Stadium (7.45pm)

League form: Derry City WWDWD, Bohs DLWWL

Match odds: Derry City 5/6, Bohs 7/2, Draw 11/5

Referee: Paul Tuite (Dublin)

Team news: Bohs have problems - Issy Akinade, Jason Caffrey and Dylan Hayes are out; Ayman Ben Mohamed and Derek Pender are doubts. Aaron Barry, Harry Monaghan and Dean Jarvis are unlikely to feature for Derry.

Talking point: After eight games last season, Bohs had accumulated six points more than they have registered to date this term, while Derry had eight points fewer on the board. In fact, it took them 22 games to get to the 17 points they have chalked up already this season, the difference clearly a result of their change of manager, return of Rory Patterson and arrival of belief into Barry McNamee, who has been superb.

Verdict: Home win

Shamrock Rovers v Dundalk

Tallaght Stadium (8.0pm)

League form: Shamrock Rovers WLWLW, Dundalk LWDWW

Match odds: Shamrock Rovers 2/1, Dundalk 13/10, Draw 11/5

Referee: Neil Doyle (Dublin)

Team news: Although David O'Connor has been ruled out, Luke Byrne and Stephen McPhail are available again. Dundalk have six players - Shane Grimes, Paddy Barrett, Ciaran Kilduff, Ciaran O'Connor, Michael O'Connor and Patrick McEleney on their injured list. Kilduff, with a broken back, is unlikely to play again this season.

Talking point: Kilduff's absence will hurt Dundalk and while they remain the team to beat this season, the opportunity is there for the pretenders to step up to the plate. Can that be Rovers? By Monday, by which stage they will have faced Dundalk and Cork, we'll know.

Verdict: Draw

Wexford Youths v Galway Utd

Ferrycarrig Park (8.0pm)

League form: Wexford Youths DLWDL, Galway United LWLWD

Match odds: Wexford Youths 2/1, Galway United 13/10, Draw 9/4

Referee: Adriano Reale (Maynooth)

Team news: Injury rules out Aidan Keenan, Peter Higgins, Shane Dunne and Lee Grace, whereas Danny Furlong, the Wexford striker, is unavailable because of suspension. Galway are missing Jesse Devers, Armin Aganovic and Kevin Devaney.

Talking point: If Galway want to qualify for Europe, then these are the games they have to win, to turn ambition into a reality. By the same token, if Wexford want to survive for a second season in the Premier Division then this is type of game they need to get something out of. How the hosts bounce back from last week's disaster in Richmond Park is the biggest issue of all, though.

Verdict: Draw

Irish Independent

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