Five questions to be answered in the League of Ireland this weekend

15th November 2023

Can Bohs restart their fight for Europe? With just one win in nine games in the SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division, Declan Devine comes into Friday night’s home clash with Dundalk in big need of a win to reenergise their push for Europe. 

Can Bohs restart their fight for Europe?

With just one win in nine games in the SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division, Declan Devine comes into Friday night’s home clash with Dundalk in big need of a win to reenergise their push for Europe. 

Dundalk have managed to turn stodgy form into a remarkable run culminating in last Friday’s win over Shamrock Rovers and travel to Dalymount Park full of confidence and with a striker in fine form once more in Patrick Hoban. 

Despite their brilliant early season form, Bohs always stated their real ambitions lay in jumping back on the European plane and before they lose too much of a gap to fourth place Dundalk, Friday’s game is almost a must win. 

With the unknown of the summer transfer window, Europe and Sports Direct Men’s FAI Cup on the horizon, both teams will be hoping to lay a marker in the league while they can. 

Bohs will be hoping that green shoots from Jonathan Afolabi who has scored in his last two games that he can be a part of Bohs turning their form around. 

As sides embark on their 2023 European journies this week coming, Bohs will look on enviously and you’d imagine it may drive them on further in fighting for their return to the continent. 

Can the Champions bounce back?

Stephen Bradley was hoping to go into Europe with a cushion in the league but that was ripped apart last week with a brilliant Dundalk win at Oriel Park reopening the door to St Pat’s and Derry City in the title race. 

The Saints show no sign of slowing their good form and any more slip ups will be an unwanted hurdle for the Hoops. 

They travel to a resilient Drogheda United who have found much joy against Shamrock Rovers so far this season. 

After a 1-1 draw in Weavers Park early on, Kevin Doherty’s men produced a stunning 2-1 win away in Tallaght a few weeks ago. 

Bradley will know full well of the dangers of this trip and will ensure none of his players are thinking on their trip to Iceland before this game. 

Drogheda United have consistently produced surprise results and performed well last week without Freddie Draper and know that every point is worth fighting for in their fight for survival. 

Can Cobh cement a place in the Play-Offs with a landmark win?

Galway United are much fancied for a return to the promised land this season having built up a large lead at the top of the SSE Airtricity Men’s First Division. 

They travel to one of their toughest trips this Friday night when they visit high-flying Cobh Ramblers who beat Waterford in St Colman’s Park just a couple of weeks ago. 

The proverbial tough place to go, Shane Keegan can put one foot in the Play-Offs with a win here on Friday and perhaps even give a chink of light to Waterford. 

Waterford have made some marquee signings but will no doubt be hurting somewhat having seen Wassim Aouachria jump ship for Galway United. 

The number nine will be hoping to get off to a flying start with a win on Friday night and if they do come away with all three points, there won’t be many hurdles left in their pursuit of the SSE Airtricity Men’s First Division title. 

Elsewhere in the race for the Play-Offs, Finn Harps face Bray Wanderers needing a win to keep any hopes of a spot alive. 

Having welcomed back BJ Banda, they still harbour hopes of a return to form and a win on Friday will give them a shot of hope. 

Who will secure a place in the inaugural Avenir Sports All-Island Cup Final?

With four Semi-Finalists from all corners of the island of Ireland, the Group Stages of the Avenir Sports All-Island Cup produced some great drama and Galway United, Wexford Youths, Cork City and Cliftonville now all have the chance to secure a first Final appearance. 

Cork City’s young squad have found fine form at just the right time with nine points from nine and travel to Belfast on Sunday for a cracking tie against the Northern Irish side. 

Fiana Bradley’s goal on the weekend showed a glimpse of the future for City and Galway United have also showed a great run of form to give themselves a chance of the final.

With Wexford securing a spot in dramatic circumstances, the momentum will likely stay with the home side on Saturday but it has the makings of a classic tie. 

Cliftonville have shown like all the Northern Irish sides that the levels are very similar across the border and this has shown with the likes of Shelbourne, Shamrock Rovers, Glentoran and Peamount United all knocked out. 

If the Group Stages are anything to go by, any four of the teams this weekend could end up in the Final and we can’t wait for the drama to unfold. 

Both games are live on LOITV! 

Will Derry City take a chance and reignite their title challenge? 

Derry City were given a golden chance earlier this season to extend their lead at the top of the Division when they travelled to Sligo Rovers for the North-West Derby but Sligo came out on top with a 1-0 win. 

With Shamrock Rovers losing last Friday, a door has been left open for the Candystripes to jump back on the train and they once more face Sligo Rovers. 

Having ended a poor run of form with a fantastic win over Bohemians last week, John Russell will be buoyed and hoping to build on the 3-1 win with a massive three points on the road. 

Their clash earlier this season in Derry was a 1-1 draw and Russell will be hoping Max Mata’s return to finding the net last weekend can recreate his goal at the Brandywell.

It’s no coincidence that Sligo’s drop off in form coinciding with Mata’s goals drying up and if they are to secure a win on Friday, he will be key to those plans. 

Derry’s job will be to find the goals again and with new signing Paul McMullan entering the fray this could be the perfect chance for Derry to come back fighting before Europe kicks in. 

Friday, 7 July, 2023 – 19:45

SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division

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

SSE Airtricity Men’s First Division

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

Avenir Sports All-Island Cup Semi-Finals

Saturday, 8 July, 2023

Wexford Youths v Galway United – 16:00

Sunday, 9 July, 2023

Cliftonville v Cork City – 14:00