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

15th November 2023

With a much needed win in the bank last time out away to Cork City and a return of Colm Whelan and Michael Duffy, Derry host St Pat’s on Friday night looking for back to back wins. 

Will Derry City reignite their title challenge with Dublin double? 

With a much needed win in the bank last time out away to Cork City and a return of Colm Whelan and Michael Duffy, Derry host St Pat’s on Friday night looking for back to back wins. 

A massive clash in itself, the Candystripes also host Shamrock Rovers on Monday evening and that six points out of the pair will signal their reintroduction to the title race after a slight dip in form. 

Welcoming Paddy McLaughlin into the back room staff, Derry have fresh impetus now along with the return of the aforementioned attackers.

Tim Clancy, however, will know all about Derry City’s recent home form and will smell an opportunity after a disappointing derby loss last time out at home to Shamrock Rovers. 

The pair’s clash on the opening game of the season saw a tight affair with a late Joe Redmond equaliser but the question remains how the Saints will cope without their talismanic Captain.  

With Cameron Dummigan and Mark Connolly both nearing a return for Ruaidhri Higgins, now could be the time for Derry City to kick into gear. 

Can Shamrock Rovers maintain their pace in tough Bank Holiday clashes?

With Rory Gaffney on the treatment table, Johnny Kenny took his opportunity last week with a stunning finish away to St Pat’s and his side welcome his former team Sligo Rovers to Tallaght Stadium. 

The Ireland U21 striker will see this as an opportunity to stake his claim to be the main target man for the defending Champions this season as Stephen Bradley’s look to continue their route back to the top of the table. 

Most onlookers would expect Bohs to gain six points from six in their Bank Holiday weekend games against UCD and Cork City and with Shamrock Rovers facing Sligo and Derry City on Monday, Bradley will see the need to follow suit ahead of a massive Dublin Derby in Tallaght next Friday. 

Having gone away to Richmond Park and securing the three points with relative ease as well as holding onto Jack Byrne despite MLS interest, the three times Champions will be brimming full of confidence going into the clash.

Two of the leading strikers in the SSE Airticity Men’s Premier Division will come head to head here with Max Mata hoping to add to his eight goals that sees him lead the goal scoring charts. 

John Russell will see this as an opportunity to make a statement from the west with Mata and Fabrice Hartmann both enjoying superb form. 

Can Waterford set up a title showdown in Galway next week?

Keith Long will be pleased with his new Waterford side’s 100% record since he’s entered the fray but is fully aware of the task at hand which means trying to claw back the gap to Galway United who have won 10 from 10 and are looking to reach the record of 12 after this weekend’s Bank Holiday games. 

With the pair meeting next Friday, Waterford will know that only six from six will so this Friday and Monday and up first is a difficult trip to their South-Eastern neighbours Bray Wanderers. 

Ian Ryan’s Bray side will be looking to their promotion push back on track after disappointing outings in Galway and Longford and will see an upset here as the best way into that. 

John Caulfield’s Galway United continue to go from strength to strength and are expecting a sell-out in Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday as their history making side will be starting to smell a long awaited return to the promised land. 

Only one thing stands in their way this season and with any slip up, Waterford know they need to maintain their 100% start under Keith Long to be ready to pounce. 

Can Wexford Youths rejoin the title race in the SSE Airtricity Women’s Premier Division?

After slip ups against Peamount United and Athlone Town, Wexford face Shelbourne in the tie of the round this weekend as one of the most competitive title races in some time navigates its early rounds. 

With the addition of Shamrock Rovers to the title mix this season and Peamount United’s resurgence to the top of the Division - it’s anyone’s guess as to who’s going to end up at the top of the tree this year. 

Every clash has taken on heightened meaning with each side facing each other just the twice this year due to the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup and Wexford will see this as one of their last chances to stake a claim for the 2023 title against last year’s double winners. 

Much like the showdown at the end of last season, Shels will be hoping their experience can carry them through much like it did in Greenogue before the international break.

They followed that up with a laboured 1-0 win at home to Treaty United but know they will need to be at their best to keep Wexford at bay. 

They’ll need the likes of Rianna Jarrett to come up trumps but will have to do so without the suspended Ciara Rossiter. 

Who can take the derby spoils and an even more important three points in Louth?

The last time these two met in Weavers Park, Drogheda United felt like they should have taken at least point following a thrilling clash with Dundalk. 

Always a lively affair, this clash takes on extra weight given both sides’s place in the table and recent form. 

Despite playing against 10 men for over 80 minutes last Friday night, Dundalk just about salvaged a draw away to Shelbourne and are feeling the difficulties of an injury table with no space left on it. 

Kevin Doherty will know given their performance against their Louth neighbours last time out, they’re more than capable of taking a big Derby win here and doing so will set alarm bells ringing in Oriel Park. 

On the other hand, a Dundalk win would give the perfect shot in the arm to O’Donnell’s side who are in bad need of a massive win. A derby win will provide just that. 

Full fixture details are available here