Sport Soccer

Friday 27 April 2018

sse airtricity league previews GARRY DOYLE

Bohemians v Limerick

Dalymount Park (19.45)

League form: Bohemians LWLDD, Limerick WLLWL

Match odds: Bohemians 10/11, Limerick 3/1, Draw 23/10

Referee: A Buttimer (Cork)

Team news: Bohemians welcome back Jake Hyland and Eoin Wearen from suspension and are further boosted by Anto Murphy's recovery from an ankle injury. However Craig Walsh, Kevin Devaney and Dan Byrne are out. Limerick are missing Robbie Williams, Tony Whitehead, Jason Hughes and Jack Doherty.

Talking point: While the maturation of his young players into the finished product has pleased Owen Heary, the Bohemians manager now fears losing Eoin Wearen, Roberto Lopes and Dinny Corcoran to rival clubs and is currently talking to each player about extending their stay at Dalymount Park.

Verdict: Home win

Cork City v Sligo Rovers

Turner's Cross (19.05)

League form: Cork City WDDWW, Sligo Rovers DLLWL

Match odds: Cork City 4/5, Sligo Rovers 10/3, Draw 12/5

Referee: N Doyle (Dublin)

Team news: Cork have to plan without Michael Rafter and have fears hanging over John O'Flynn's and Gearoid Morrissey's fitness. On the plus side, Garry Buckley and Darren Dennehy return from suspension. Sligo have major worries with John Russell, Iarfhlaith Davoren, Kalen Spillane, Jeff Henderson and Alan Keane ruled out and Gary Rogers and Gavin Peers rated doubtful.

Talking point: Does the pressure of chasing a title weigh heavier on Dundalk's shoulders or Cork's? In many ways, Cork have more to worry about in the run-in because they have no margin for error whereas Dundalk can afford a slip up. "If we drop points we hand the title to them," said John Caulfield, their manager.

Verdict: Home win

Derry City v Athlone T

Brandywell Stadium (19.45)

League form: Derry City LWLWL, Athlone Town DDDDD

Match odds: Derry City 8/15, Athlone Town 5/1, Draw 11/4

Referee: R Harvey (Dublin)

Team news: Derry have Shaun Kelly and Shane McEleney suspended but Athlone's problems run deeper. John Mulroy, Stephen Quigley and Graham Rusk have been ruled out for the season while Mark Hughes and Mark Hughes and Aidan Collins are doubts for a game they are targeting for a point.

Talking point: Aside from the FAI Cup, Derry have nothing to play for this season, so this factor, combined with their inconsistency, would suggest Athlone have a chance. Certainly, the Midlanders have found stability recently but they need to start finding the net if they are to catch UCD and Bray. "We have no fear going to Derry," said their captain, Alan Byrne.

Verdict: Home win

Drogheda UTd v Bray WDs

United Park (19.45)

League form: Drogheda United LWWDW, Bray LDWLL

Match odds: Drogheda United 1/2, Bray Wanderers 5/1, Draw 3/1

Referee: P Sutton (Clare)

Team news: With a season disrupted by injury, the return of Eric McGill (back), Phil Hughes (thigh) and Rob Maloney (suspension) could prove key to Bray's survival hopes. Drogheda, meanwhile, have three players - Peter McGlynn, Shane Grimes and Garreth Brady - suspended and two more, Gary O'Neill and Cathal Brady, injured.

Talking point: Drogheda's revival under Damien Richardson has been extraordinary. From being in relegation trouble, they are now chasing fifth spot and, after collecting 14 points from the first seven games of Richardson's tenure, they can easily achieve that. Struggling Bray have collected just six points from their last 16 games.

Verdict: Home win

St Pat's Ath v Shamrock R

Richmond Park (19.45)

League form: St Pat's WLWWW, Shamrock Rovers WDWLD

Match odds: St Pat's 11/10, Shamrock Rovers 23/10, Draw 23/10

Referee: T Connolly (Dublin)

Team news: St Pat's welcome back Kenny Browne (back) and Ian Bermingham (ankle) from injury but have to plan without Ken Oman and Greg Bolger, who are both suspended.

Talking point: Unbeaten in their last seven matches, St Pat's recent return to form has gone largely unnoticed and a win here would effectively guarantee them a place in European football next season. Rovers, with just two league wins from their last five, are not doing as well as perceived, despite their fine FAI Cup victory over Dundalk. Last Saturday's League Cup final defeat in Oriel Park exposed a lack of defensive organisation, which clearly needs to improve.

Verdict: Home win

UCD v Dundalk

UCD Bowl (19.45)

League form: UCD DLDLL, Dundalk WDWLW

Match odds: UCD 9/1, Dundalk 1/4, Draw 9/2

Referee: J McKell (Tipperary)

Team news: UCD have Gareth Matthews suspended while Dundalk are still missing Stephen O'Donnell (knee) and Simon Kelly (calf) through injury.

Talking point: In Belfield tonight, UCD, who have just one league win since May 2, and none since July 13, meet the year's form team, Dundalk, who collected the EA Sports Cup last Saturday, the club's first trophy in 12 years. The league is the prize they really covet, however, and they know that if they beat the division's bottom three sides in their next four games, a draw, at home to Cork in the last game of the season, will secure the title. They should get win number one here.

Verdict: Away win

Irish Independent

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