With 18 goals scored across six Premier Division games last weekend, we’ll certainly be hoping for more of the same again this time around.
Although there were 13 goals scored in just two games last Friday night, one of the most outstanding results would have to be Trevor Croly’s lowly Bray side picking up a valuable, and largely unexpected three points over St. Patrick’s Athletic.
Dundalk’s march at the top continued with a 1-0 victory over Derry City at Oriel Park, whilst second-placed Cork City also just squeezed past Limerick via the same scoreline, keeping the destination of the title very much open.
Sligo found their second victory of the season over Drogheda United, whilst the aforementioned win for Bray means that the Shannonsiders’ plight was made all the worse by the sides above them picking up invaluable points.
Tensions are set to rise once again this weekend, as there are two massive games near to summit. Cork City take on Shamrock Rovers in Turner’s Cross while St. Patrick’s Athletic host Dundalk.
Friday, May 22nd
Bohemians vs Bray Wanderers (kick-off 7:45pm)
Bray Wanderers, under their second renaissance following an impressive 1-0 victory over St. Pat’s, make the short trip to Dublin’s northside with Croly’s main aim to secure a second win in a row.
They play a Bohs side hurting after a 5-3 loss to Galway United last time out in the league as well as a 1-0 defeat, also to Tommy Dunne’s men, in the quarter-final of the EA Sports Cup in midweek.
This is an interesting game, as it pits two sides on differing ends of the spectrum. Bohs have massively over-performed whilst the Seagulls have done the opposite. Now however, Bray have to opportunity to revive their season once more. A trip to a wounded Bohs side presents a solid opportunity for Bray to capitalise but it may just be a stretch too far.
Bohemians 1-0 Bray Wanderers
Cork City vs Shamrock Rovers (kick-off 7:45pm)
In a match that has all the ingredients for another massive turnout at Turner’s Cross, Pat Fenlon’s men come to Cork for the first time this year – looking to build on a 3-2 win over Longford.
This is a massive game for both clubs, who face each other in the knowledge that a draw suits no-one, but Dundalk. For this reason, the match should be that bit more open than the the first league meeting of these teams, which ended in a 0-0 draw in Tallaght.
It makes for a fascinating contest either way, as two teams vying to catch the Lilywhites clash beneath the backdrop of what is likely to be another cacophonous atmosphere on Leeside.
Cork City 2-1 Shamrock Rovers
Derry City vs Sligo Rovers (kick-off 7:45pm)
For the all the negativity that has engulfed Sligo, they are now potentially one win away from going into seventh place after their victory last weekend, should Longford lose tomorrow.
Derry also know they could be leapfrogged by the Candystripes if they cannot hold out against a Sligo side which will be desperate to develop on last weekend’s positives.
Despite this platform the Bit O’ Red now have, Derry’s defence is the best of the bottom half, exemplified by the fact that Dundalk were only able to put one past them at Oriel Park last Friday.
Derry City 0-0 Sligo Rovers
Drogheda United vs Galway United (kick-off 7:45pm)
Despite having lost eight games out of 13 this season, Galway have ascended all the way to sixth for the time being, thanks to a dramatic 5-3 win over Bohs.
For Drogheda, a win over Bray on the eight of May isn’t enough to cover up the inneficiencies they’ve had so far this season, losing nine games already.
Galway’s impressive results in the past week as well as their ability to pick up three points slightly more often than their opponents sways this writer towards an away win here.
Drogheda United 1-2 Galway United
St. Patrick’s Athletic vs Dundalk (kick-off 7:45pm)
In what is the second of two massive games at the top on Friday night, Dundalk take on a St. Pat’s side who know a win is a must if they’re to close the already sizeable gap between them and the champions.
The Saints, who are still widely regarded as title challengers, must make up a massive thirteen points between now and October.
Dundalk’s imperious form, home and away, will not be easily dented however. A demolition of UCC by a second string team will give those on the bench renowned vigour for this upcoming game, while St. Pat’s penalty shootout win over Cork City last Tuesday could bring fatigue into play.
The fact that Pat’s know this is a must win if they’re to keep up pace should make for a cracker in Richmond Park, as some of the league’s finest talents go to battle.
St Patrick’s Athletic 1-3 Dundalk
Saturday, May 23rd
Longford Town vs Limerick (kick-off 7:30pm)
Limerick enter this game in a familiar pattern, having lost out last weekend, yet again, to Cork City. The psychology of the players within the dressing room is difficult to fathom at present with each passing week making the severity of the Shannonsiders’ plight just that bit worse.
Picking up just five points this season and failing to rack up one win makes Longford massive favourites for this game. Add to this that the newly-promoted club have not been badly beaten by any opposition this season. In fact, their latest defeat, a 3-2 loss to Shamrock Rovers, was the first time this year that the Town have conceded more than two goals in a game.
Limerick’s impending return the Markets Field could just be the factor to give the players an added boost, but expect this trip north to bring little in the way of points.
Longford Town 2-0 Limerick
Rob Lyons, Pundit Arena