It’s been a weekend which has boasted some unprecedented results, notably Limerick’s last-gasp draw with the Lilywhites in Jackman Park and Sligo being beaten at home by Bray.
Here we choose three talking points from the weekend’s League of Ireland Premier Division games.
3. Sligo Rovers’ Struggles Continue
Sligo Rovers had found life extremely tough coming in their game against Bray Wanderers at the weekend but it was difficult to envisage the Bit O’ Red crumbling the way they did.
Yes, conceding two penalties can be counted as unfortunate but the fact Sligo cannot hide from is that they have now gone six games without a win. Something which few teams can afford to do in any league, but in a division with just twelve sides, a win or loss really can make a huge difference from week to week.
The side who have plunged Sligo further into the dark hole they are in – Bray Wanderers – are an example of how quickly fortunes can be turned around. The Seagulls are now in ninth place on goal difference.
Sligo’s fortunes however, are now quite difficult to predict, after what would have been seen before kick-off as a fabulous opportunity for Owen Heary’s men to pick up three points.
A game this afternoon in the EA Sports Cup may be just the right pick-me-up for a side down on confidence but the fruits of a potential win must be brought into the weekend’s trip to Galway, where a point will be the very minimum needed, and once again expected.
2. Cork City’s Domineering Home Form
Currently topping the home form table, John Caulfield’s side are the only side – along with Dundalk – who have won all three of their opening home games. The Leesiders have also scored ten goals and not conceded one.
This kind of home form is a fantastic platform for the Rebel Army to build upon and is no doubt helped by playing in a cauldron like Turner’s Cross every week. 5,104 spectators at their most recent game against Derry City is testament to the great atmosphere which can drive Cork City on.
Away from home, this form hasn’t been able to be replicated to quite the same extent, but the longer this home form continues, the more teams will fear travelling to play in Cork. John Caulfield’s side will also become even more assured of picking up three points at home every two to three weeks.
1. Dundalk’s 100% Record Halted
It had to end at some point but up until the 89th against Limerick, one would have thought Dundalk were to keep their winning run going. This run also included not conceding a solitary goal all season.
It is far from a crisis that Richie Towell’s early goal was cancelled out and a point, instead of three, were taken from Jackman Park but the Lilywhites’ result now hands the initiative back to Cork City and Shamrock Rovers, who both reside just two points below the the Louthmen.
There is just one league game to be played between now and April 17th when Shamrock Rovers host Dundalk, in what is now looking like a crucial game at the top, even at this early stage.
Two games later and the Lilywhites must travel to Cork for what could also be a defining match on April 24th.
Limerick may well have just inadvertently set up an intriguing, and exciting month of games near the top.
Rob Lyons, Pundit Arena.