Five things we could learn this weekend

15th November 2023

The big winners from last weekend’s action were clearly St Patrick’s Athletic after the top three all dropped more points in a title race which is becoming one of the most intriguing for years. 

Who’s going to take the lead in the title race?

The big winners from last weekend’s action were clearly St Patrick’s Athletic after the top three all dropped more points in a title race which is becoming one of the most intriguing for years. 

Derry City had travelled to Sligo on Saturday with a massive opportunity against a Sligo Rovers side who had been struggling to find their form and the Candystripes will be kicking themselves having lost the chance to extend their lead at the top to four points. 

This chance came about after a shock defeat for Shamrock Rovers at Cork City and they will be leaving no stone unturned as they look to rectify this on Friday night in the live TV broadcast on RTÉ2 against Dundalk. 

The Dundalk Manager Stephen O’Donnell will clearly be looking for a reaction too having kept his charges in the away team dressing room after their loss to St Pat’s until after 11pm. 

What was said in the aftermath only him and his players will know but they also know that a win on Friday would reignite their season let alone throw a holy cat amongst the pigeons of this fascinating title race. 

Leaders Derry City face one of the best defenses in the League as they welcome Shelbourne who took four points from the Brandywell in 2022 and have European ambitions of their own following a tense draw in Dalymount. 

While they all battle it out St Pat’s come to UCD knowing they’re there to pick up any of the pieces left over but will have to do without Tom Grivosti and Joe Redmond. If they can get to the summer break in the mix it could be likely we may have a three or four way title race. 

Wouldn’t that be just nice! 

Who can take advantage of back to back wins in Drogheda?

It wasn’t long ago that newspaper column inches were covering a Cork City side struggling for form and points but with two excellent home wins back to back they come into a clash with another team high on confidence following two wins on the bounce when they visit Drogheda United on Friday. 

Kevin Doherty will be fast approaching Manager of the Year territory if his unfancied side continue to get results like in recent weeks and Cork City seem to have gotten back to the basics that can serve them well as they search for their new boss. 

It’s another game that is too close to call but a lot of the action may be decided by two of the form strikers in the SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division as Ruairi Keating comes head to head with Freddie Draper. 

With the two of them having earned three points for their sides against defending Champions Shamrock Rovers, both will be brimming full of confidence. 

Another win for either side could have huge consequences. 

Cork City are just five points behind Doherty’s men and a win here could drag the Louth side down into a battle for the Relegation Play-Off spot despite all their good work. 

On the other hand, a win for Drogheda United could see them leapfrog Sligo Rovers and put a serious gap to ninth spot. 

It’s a big, big game as they say. 

Can Bohs cement themselves in the Women’s Premier Division title race?

Coming to life in the last few weeks, Bohemians have been nothing but impressive in their SSE Airtricity Women’s Premier Division campaign so far. 

A statement 3-2 win over Athlone Town in Dalymount Park shows that this side is more than capable of putting together performances that led to a four game winning run. 

Dalymount is the venue again for a massive showdown as Bohs look to become the first team to beat Shamrock Rovers this season and what a better time to do it than then in the first ever Bohs-Rovers Derby in Dalymount in the women’s game. 

They’ll look to the likes of Erica Burke, Sarah Rowe and Mia Dodd to continue their fine form as they look to continue their push to have a say in the title race. 

Galway United host Shelbourne who are in bad need of a win against another top half side having fell to a 1-0 loss in the big game in Tolka Park last week against Peamount United. 

While these two clash a win for Bohs in Dalymount would be a big impact as we near the summer break.

Bohs will be hoping to get a record crowd to the game for a 1pm kick off in the sun of Phibsborough and that home advantage could make a massive difference in one of the biggest games of the season so far.  

Can Longford Town take their chance in a Midlands Derby?

Having held Waterford to a 0-0 draw on Saturday night, Longford Town continue to improve under Stephen Henderson and just two points separate them and their Midlands rivals heading into the Derby on Friday night. 

Both sides will be harbouring hopes of the Play-Offs and a return to the top flight and with Athlone Town occupying the last Play-Off spot, there won’t be a better opportunity for the Longford Town side to leapfrog their neighbours. 

They will continue to hope the form of Josh Giurgi and Beineoin O’Brien Whitmarsh can help them rise up the table but having kept the clean sheet against high-scoring Waterford they’ll be equally as encouraged by their rear-guard as their attack as they look for the Play-Off finish. 

These clashes are always entertaining affairs with goals guaranteed and Athlone Town will be looking to the mercurial talent of Pierrot to keep providing the firepower which has taken the SSE Airtricity Men’s First Division by storm. 

It’s an mysterious team in parts with so many different nationalities in the side but goals seem to have been plentiful and they’ll fancy their chances of putting distance between them and Longford Town in front of their home fans on Friday night. 

Watch it all unfold on LOITV!

Will Bohs slip out of the title race or will they be battling it out for a European spot?

Last Friday’s North Dublin Derby was all set up for a big night as a packed Dalymount Park was soaked in sun and the crowd came expecting Bohs to put on a show. 

They were met with the brick wall defence of Shels, however, and failed to produce in the way of chances as their search for another big win went on. 

They return to Dalymount Park this Friday hosting Sligo Rovers who will be buoyed after a big win over Derry City on Saturday and represent another threat to Declan Devine’s side. 

Bohs have beaten the Bit O’ Red already this season so they will know they are fully capable of coming away with the three points and as Shamrock Rovers host Dundalk and Derry City welcome Shelbourne there is a chance there for Bohs to make good headway in the table as they remain up in contention after their superb start to the season. 

They will need goals though and Devine will be looking for his forward players like Chris Twardek, Declan McDaid, Ali Coote and Jonathan Afolabi can produce more in the coming days starting on Friday night. 

Goals isn’t something Sligo Rovers have struggled for with the League’s top scorer Max Mata in their ranks but the Kiwi hasn’t scored in recent games and he’ll be hoping to reverse this himself.

It’s set up perfectly for another big night at Dalymount this Friday live on LOITV. 

Friday, June 2, 2023, 19:45

SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division 

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

SSE Airtricity Men’s First Division 

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

Saturday, June 3

SSE Airtricity Women’s Premier Division

Bohemians v Shamrock Rovers, 13:00
Galway United v Shelbourne, 14:00
Cork City v DLR Waves, 17:00
Peamount United v Athlone Town, 17:00
Treaty United v Sligo Rovers, 17:00