Five talking points for the League of Ireland this weekend

15th November 2023

European football and bragging rights on offer in North Dublin With just one win in the last five, Bohs’ impressive early form has slowed somewhat after losing just once in their opening seven games. 

European football and bragging rights on offer in North Dublin

With just one win in the last five, Bohs’ impressive early form has slowed somewhat after losing just once in their opening seven games. 

That one loss was away to North Dublin rivals Shelbourne who make the short trip up the Royal Canal on Friday ahead of an eagerly anticipated live clash on RTÉ2. 

Declan Devine will be encouraged, however, by his side’s second half performance and comeback last week away to Dundalk and will be hoping his side start off with the same energy and desire they showed in the second 45. 

Energy and desire seemed a little lacking in Shels’ last game at home to St Pat’s though Damien Duff knows his side has been in good form before their first loss in eight last week.

He will know what’s on offer here which is a chance to do a double over Bohs as the Reds look to lay out their credentials for European football in 2024 but two losses in a week to Dublin rivals ahead of an away trip to Derry next week will hit these hopes of fans. 

Bohs will have to fend without suspended skipper Keith Buckley who will know this derby well but with young James McManus only getting better the chance for Bohs to record a big win at Dalymount on Friday makes this a mouth-watering tie with so much on offer. 

A chance for Jon Daly to celebrate permanent appointment with revenge mission over Dundalk

Jon Daly has taken over the reins permanently in Inchicore and there’s a massive game up first in the hunt for the retention of European football for both St Pat’s and Dundalk on Friday night. 

The last clash between these two was a stunning 5-0 win for Dundalk in Oriel Park when anything that could go wrong, went wrong for the Saints but with a new man in charge and on the back of last week’s win over Shels, there’s an opportunity for a big night in Richmond Park for the hosts. 

The return of Stephen O’Donnell to Inchicore will still gripe some of the Saints hardcore and this clash has developed into an interesting fixture on the LOI calendar ever since he switched sides to Dundalk after the 2021 FAI Cup win. 

The only thing on O’Donnell’s mind, however, will be replicating their first half performance against Bohs and avoiding the second half outing which saw them give over a 2-0 lead at home. 

With both sides level on points and goal difference, Friday night represents a big chance for both sides to jump ahead of each other. 

Can Peamount signal their title credentials with win in Tolka?

For years, as perennial winners of the SSE Airtricity Women’s Premier Division, the sight of Peamount United at the top of the League was not an unusual sight. 

However, with the arrival of Shamrock Rovers to the scene and Shelbourne’s two title wins in a row, their presence at the top as been a slight surprise and has made for a superb title race coming into the summer break. 

Shels have started to find form again and having gone to Greenogue earlier this season with a 4-1 win, they will know they need to get three points at home to signal their title sights once again. 

With their only loss so far season being that defeat at the hands of Shels, Peamount know there is a big chance for revenge in a game that has carried a good level of needle in recent years for what some call the big derby in the SSE Airtricity Women’s Premier Division. 

A big crowd is expected at Tolka Park for the clash and they will see the likes of Tara O’Hanlon and Jessie Stapleton vying for the massive three points. 

It’s a game that has produced tonnes of goals throughout the last few years too with a famous 4-3 in Tolka, a 5-0 in Greenogue and even the 4-1 in Greenogue earlier this year so the crowd will likely be in for a treat come Saturday afternoon. 

Whoever comes out on top will see themselves as significant challengers for the 2023 title. 

Will Shamrock Rovers jump back on the horse?

Drogheda United produced one of the shocks of the season so far with a magnificent win away to Shamrock Rovers last weekend and the Champions now travel to Cork City, a perennial tough place to go in the League looking not to lose any more ground to Derry City who are now top of the SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division. 

Cork City will themselves be back in bullish mood after last week’s superb win over Sligo Rovers and anything but a Rovers win here will throw the title race wide open. 

The Turner’s Cross crowd will be riled up welcoming the Dublin side and it’s essential that Cork give their fans something early on to get behind them. 

Stephen Bradley for this part knows that the stats showed a bit of an unusual result last week and will be hopeful they can return to their clinical best and put City away here. 

With Derry City not playing until Saturday night, the chance is there for the Hoops to return to the summit and put some early pressure on Derry who will be looking not to slip up once they’ve got their noses in front. 

If Cork are to produce another upset and get a result as they did in Tallaght in their 4-4 thriller earlier this season, then Ruairi Keating will be key to this. 

Who ends up in the Play-Offs is anyone’s guess

As Cobh Ramblers travel to Bray Wanderers on Friday night looking to get back to winning ways, just six points separate third and seventh in the SSE Airtricity Men’s First Division. 

With Longford Town enjoying good form and welcoming Waterford on Saturday night, the race for the Play-Offs has taken on a new life as all of Cobh, Athlone Town, Bray Wanderers and  Longford Town looking to join Waterford in the hunt for promotion to the top-flight. 

Even still, Wexford and Finn Harps know if they can turn their form around now before the summer break, they will be back on the agenda. 

Consistency is the aim of the game here and with teams constantly taking points off each other there is hope building among all the Clubs for a tilt at the Play-Offs. 

Athlone Town continue to push for this and they visit Galway United in the toughest test of them all but with a local element to the game there could be a chance of an upset on Friday with Waterford waiting in the wings for any chance to close the gap. 

Who will end up in the Play-Offs is a big unknown and the next few weeks will have a big say come the end of the season. 

SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division
Friday, 26 May, 2023 – 19:45

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

Saturday, 27 May, 2023 – 19:45
Sligo Rovers v Derry City

SSE Airtricity Men’s First Division
Friday, 26 May, 2023 – 19:45

Bray Wanderers v Cobh Ramblers
Galway United v Athlone Town
Kerry v Wexford
Treaty United v Finn Harps

Saturday, 27 May, 2023 – 19:45
Longford Town v Waterford

SSE Airtricity Women’s Premier Division 
Saturday, 27 May, 2023

Shelbourne v Peamount United, 14:00
DLR Waves v Bohemians, 16:00
Cork City v Wexford Youths, 17:00
Shamrock Rovers v Galway United, 17:30
Athlone Town v Treaty United, 19:00