Five key questions this LOI weekend

15th November 2023

Who can take the Dublin Derby spoils? Damien Duff declared this week that their south Dublin rivals St Pat’s should be ahead of them in the SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division due to resources but Shels sit ahead of the Saints.

Who can take the Dublin Derby spoils?

Damien Duff declared this week that their south Dublin rivals St Pat’s should be ahead of them in the SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division due to resources but Shels sit ahead of the Saints as the race for Europe intensifies. 

Jon Daly has played down the rivalry between the two sides but this week’s build up as reminded us of the long history between the two sides. 

In the short-term, however, the matter of League position is of utmost importance as we come into the summer months. If Shels can stay ahead of their South Dublin rivals coming into a busy European period for the Saints, they will have eyes on the plane to the continent themselves next year. 

The Reds will need the in-form Jack Moylan to rekindle some of the joy he found against Pat’s last season and last weekend as he scored a hat-trick to secure a big three points on the road.

Duff’s team’s home form has been markedly better in this campaign but the Saints came here early on in his tenure and won 3-0 before a thrilling 4-4 draw last time out meaning anything is possible in this fixture. 

St Pat’s performed well on Monday away to Shamrock Rovers but came away empty handed and Daly will be looking to make sure points are on the board when they depart Richmond Road for Richmond Park on Friday night. 

Can Dundalk draw level with Bohs?

It’s a night where the race for the European spots is taking centre stage as Bohs, who will still harbour hopes of the title, travel to Oriel Park to face a Dundalk side with four wins in their last five. 

The one loss in that run came last Monday though when a rejuvenated Derry City wiped them aside in a 3-0 win at the Brandywell. 

O’Donnell will not be too downhearted considering his side’s injuries but a win against Bohs would be the perfect game to bounce back in given their proximity in the Division. 

Key to the game could be a former Bohemian in Keith Ward who has stepped up to the plate once more for the Lilywhites this season in the absence of players through injury.

Ward enjoyed many fruitful years at Dalymount but could be crucial again here as Dundalk sit just three points behind the Phibsborough side. 

Bohs for their part have stuttered a little after an incredible start to the campaign but two losses back to back now against Shamrock Rovers and Derry means this represents a chance to show their quality against one of the in-form sides in the Division. 

Declan Devine’s side got the upper hand last time out when Bohs won 2-1 but with Dundalk’s off-season’s arrivals having had a couple of months to gel it’ll be interesting to see where each side stands now. 

Can Kerry follow up their piece of history?

Amongst a big night of SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division games last week, it was the result in Athlone that grabbed all the headlines as Kerry gained their first ever win the League of Ireland. 

Focus will now turn to a home tie against Bray Wanderers with another full crowd expected at Mounthawk Park.

What’s remarkable is the amount of interest that this Kerry side has garnered since their introduction to the League of Ireland and the amount of good will they received following their win shows just how important an addition to the League they have been. 

Though they will have enjoyed their win, they will now look to go after their first home win and reward the returning crowd to Tralee. 

They’ll face a Bray Wanderers side with play-off ambitions following their 2-0 win over Finn Harps last week and who know the importance of back-to-back wins in this Division. 

Kerry will hope Ryan Kelliher’s stunning performance will give him the confidence to kick on and become a new local sporting hero. 

Will Bohs enter the SSE Airtricity Women’s Premier Division title race?

With the draw for the Avenir Sports All-Island Cup taking place on Thursday, much chat was on new silverware in the women’s game but the big unknown in 2023 is where the title will go in the SSE Airtricity Women’s Premier Division with no clear leader. 

As TG4 cameras come to Dalymount Park for the first time on Saturday night, the spotlight will be on a Bohs side who have won three in a row. 

Securing back-to-back wins has seen Bohs sky rocket up the League just four points off the top. 

However with just four points separating the top five, no side has been able to break away at the top. 

Bohs sit five points ahead of last year’s runners-up Athlone Town coming into their clash on Saturday night and a win could create a big gap and keep them in the title conversation. 

A loss, however, will see Athlone reduce the gap to just two points as they look to gain ground in the Division. 

It’s a tie that’s perfectly poised for the TV cameras on Saturday in a massive weekend for women’s sport. 

Who can take three of the most vital points on offer this weekend?

Two sides under pressure meet on Friday night with critical points on offer as one side looks to work towards safety in the Division and the other looks to get back on track as they look to try catch up in the European race. 

The side battling early safety is Cork City and despite last week’s late heartbreak they performed well until the late drama.

The big question will be if they can cope without the suspended Cian Coleman but a lot may also depend if Max Mata will return to Sligo after missing last week’s defeat at Shels through injury. 

Liam Buckley has come into the fold at Turner’s Cross and as he mentioned at his first press conference they are fully aware of the need for points quickly. 

Their home form will be crucial in this and tomorrow represents a big chance to turn their form around. 

John Russell will be looking for a reaction after last week’s disappointment and will see this game as a perfect chance to turn it around. 

Friday, 19 May, 2023 (19:45 unless otherwise stated)

SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division

Cork City v Sligo Rovers
Derry City v UCD
Dundalk v Bohemians 
Shelbourne v St Patrick’s Athletic
Shamrock Rovers v Drogheda United, 20:00

SSE Airtricity Men’s First Division

Cobh Ramblers v Athlone Town
Kerry v Bray Wanderers
Treaty United v Galway United
Wexford v Longford Town 
Finn Harps v Waterford, 20:00

Saturday, 20 May, 2023

SSE Airtricity Women’s Premier Division

Peamount United v Galway United, 17:00
Sligo Rovers v Shelbourne, 17:00
Treaty United v Wexford Youths, 17:00
Shamrock Rovers v DLR Waves, 17:30
Bohemians v Athlone Town, 19:35