There weren’t too many shocks in the Airtricity League last week with the top three teams all taking three points off their opponents. Dundalk took a dent to their European hopes however as they went down 3-2 at the hands of Limerick. Shamrock Rovers recorded their fourth consecutive win and could perhaps be making a surge for the top spots after an abysmal first half of the season. This week’s matches sees ten of the top flight teams catch up on St Patrick’s Athletic and UCD in games played as neither of those sides will take to the field.
Bohemians -v- Limerick
Bohs go into this game still second bottom in the league and having only taken two points from their last seven games. Limerick, on the other hand, will be looking to kick on from last week’s victory over Dundalk- their first win in six league games. A win for Bohs will see them catch up on UCD as the Students don’t play this weekend. Limerick manager Stuart Taylor will have a rather depleted squad to choose from this week as Rory Gaffney, Steve McGann and Pat Bolger all miss out through injury while Jeffrey Judge is still suspended. I fancy Limerick to come away from Dalymount Park with the three points in this one. They’re decent value at 11/10.
Bray Wanderers -v- Shamrock Rovers
As I said earlier in the article, Rovers look to be making a surge up the table in the last few weeks and that will only be helped by their new signing- Eamon Zayed. A proven goalscorer with multiple League of Ireland teams Zayed could be the catalyst to life Rovers back towards the European spots. Bray were brushed aside by St Pat’s last week for their second loss in a row but should still prove a tough test for the Hoops. Dave Webster will miss out through suspension for the Seagulls but influential midfielder Gary Dempsey returns to the squad. Rovers on the other hand are missing only David Elebert through injury. I think the Tallaght side will come through as victors out by the seaside on Friday evening and continue their winning streak. They’re at odds of 4/9.
Cork City -v- Sligo Rovers
Cork have already conceded six goals in two games this side of the mid-season break and things don’t get any easier for them this week as they welcome the champions, Sligo Rovers, to Turner’s Cross. Sligo meanwhile kept within touching distance of league leaders St Pat’s with a 2-0 win over Shelbourne last week. The Bit O’Red go into this game with three players missing through injury- Raffaele Cretaro, Danny Ventre and Aaron Green. However, their injury list is nothing compared to that of The Leesiders who are missing Dan Murray, Kevin Murray, Darren Dennehy, Colin Healy, Brian Lenihan and Danny Morrissey, as well as Daryl Kavanagh and Gearoid Morrissey both being considered doubtful. Sligo should record their third league win in a row here. They’re at odds of 4/6.
Derry City -v- Dundalk
Derry have been very impressive all through the season so far and have dropped only two points in their last five games. This game is a big one for The Candystripes as they can draw level on points with St Pat’s if they win on Friday night. Dundalk meanwhile come into the this encounter on the back of a loss to Limerick in which they threw away a two goal lead. Derry are only without long-term injury victims Thomas Crawley and Dermot McCaffrey while Dundalk are without John Mountney, Stephen McDonnell, Mark Rossiter and Keith Ward through injury, as well as the suspended Stephen O’Donnell. This will definitely be a close game but Derry should just nick with the support of the home crowd. They are 4/6 to take the three points.
Drogheda United -v- Shelbourne
Due to Drogheda’s Europa League tie with Malmo taking place on Thursday evening this game has had to be pushed back to Sunday afternoon. This will be Drogs’ fourth game in nine days having lost to Shamrock Rovers in the league last Friday and then beaten Cork City in the League Cup on Monday before their encounter with Malmo. Tiredness and perhaps an eye on the second leg of their Europa League game this Thursday could jeopardise the Louth team’s chances in this one. It might be lucky then, that they are playing bottom of the table side Shelbourne, who have only picked up two victories all season. However, Shels will have had plenty of rest before this game and will fancy themselves to take something from it. I’m going to go for a draw, which is at 13/5.
If all of my predictions come through you would stand to win €151.67 of just €5!