There’s no getting away from the Premier Division action this weekend with games taking place on Friday, Saturday and Monday of the bank holiday weekend, including a televised double header on Monday.
The final night’s action includes Dundalk’s return to Oriel Park to face Bray Wanderers, whilst Bohemians will play Cork City at Dalymount in the second televised game.
The Lilywhites’ confidence will be sky high due to their victory in Turner’s Cross last weekend whilst Cork City are left pondering what could have been from their first loss of the season.
Aside from Dundalk’s ascendancy at the top, the trailing sides are now very closely bunched, creating that bit more pressure on each team. Shamrock Rovers and St. Pat’s, who both play on Friday night, have the opportunity to leapfrog Cork City and Bohemians respectively, before Bohs and City’s clash on Monday evening.
The bottom, on the other hand, makes for a familiar sight with Sligo, Bray and Limerick still struggling. Owen Heary’s Sligo host the Shannonsiders on Saturday night, in what is arguably now the biggest game of the weekend with both sides desperate for three points.
The cameras will be out again this weekend as the first third of the season concludes.
Friday, May 1st
Galway United vs St. Patrick’s Athletic (kick-off 7:45pm)
Both sides approach this match in good spirits having cast aside their most recent opponents with ease. Galway United’s 5-0 away victory at Bray signifies just how unpredictable this league can be at times, while the Saints’ result was a little less unexpected as they overcame Sligo Rovers 3-0 at home.
Galway, who have now moved up to eight place deserve praise for such a fantastic display but they have yet to go two games without losing this year. Hat-trick hero against Bray, Enda Curran, will need to be on his toes if the Tribesmen are to have any chance of outdoing Pat’s.
Liam Buckley’s men will be hoping to add to their seven-game unbeaten run when they travel west.
Galway United 0-2 St. Patrick’s Athletic
Shamrock Rovers vs Drogheda United (kick-off 8pm)
The Hoops welcome Drogheda in the knowledge that they can go second in the table until Monday night with a victory.
Rovers’ 1-1 draw with Limerick last weekend was another example that Pat Fenlon’s side are decidedly difficult to beat but they have struggled to marry this great defensive ability with wins so far. Having drawn 50% of their first ten games, Rovers are unsurprisingly the side which have had the most stalemates this year.
What will be pleasing for Hoops fans though is that Drogheda have now gone eight games without a win in the league.
Shamrock Rovers’ home advantage against a side with such dismal form only points to one result – a Hoops win.
Shamrock Rovers 3-0 Drogheda United
Saturday, May 2nd
Longford Town vs Derry City (kick-off 7:30pm)
Longford picked up their third win of the season last weekend away to Drogheda United whilst Derry just lost out 2-1 at home to Bohs.
Longford’s solid, without being spectacular, start to their campaign makes for a positive feeling around the club as they take on the final two thirds of the season.
With both sides sitting on twelve points apiece in mid-table, each manager will be fully aware that picking up three points here brings their side firmly within the top half of the table whilst also moving that bit further from the threat of a relegation fight.
Longford’s home record, including just one loss, could have a part to play in deciding the outcome in this mid-table match-up.
Longford Town 1-1 Derry City
Sligo Rovers vs Limerick (kick-off 7:45pm)
Hardly cited as a relegation battle when the fixtures were announced, however this match now becomes a massive game for both clubs.
Just as the Bit O’ Red looked to be turning the corner, with a win and two draws, they were trounced by St. Pat’s last weekend. Despite this set-back, one would expect Owen Heary’s men to come out on top.
Limerick are still the only side to have not yet experienced winning three points and this should give the north-west side a mental edge.
The importance of this game cannot be underestimated however. If Sligo win it just increases the divide at the bottom, whereas if Limerick can pull off a result it could be the boost needed to turn around a shambolic season so far.
Sligo Rovers 2-1 Limerick
Monday, May 4th
Dundalk vs Bray Wanderers (kick-off 3pm)
The champions make their first appearance back in Oriel Park following what was a major scalp at Turner’s Cross last time out. A brace from Richie Towell was enough to see the Lilytwhites lay down a marker to all those who dare challenge their title-retaining credentials.
Bray’s apparent turnaround now looks to be dead in the water following two heavy defeats in a row, with Galway United trouncing the Seagulls 5-0 in their most recent encounter.
This match is probably the simplest game to call all weekend. If Dundalk perform anywhere near the way they did in Cork last weekend, it should be easy for Stephen Kenny’s men.
Dundalk 3-0 Bray Wanderers
Bohemians vs Cork City (kick-off 5:10pm)
Wounded from their loss to title rivals Dundalk, John Caulfield’s Cork City come to Dublin having to bounce back from their first loss of the season. Bohs meanwhile are unbeaten in two following a comeback win in the Brandywell last weekend.
This game presents an interesting test, psychologically speaking, for the visitors, having not been beaten up until last weekend as well as knowing they could be bumped all the way from second to fourth should they lose and Shamrock Rovers win.
Despite these factors, the Leesiders proved last season that they thrive under pressure and one would anticipate some sort of reaction from Cork City.
Bohemians 1-2 Cork City
Rob Lyons, Pundit Arena
Read More About: 2015 League of Ireland, bohemians, Bray Wanderers, Cork City FC, derry city, drogheda united, Dundalk, galway united, irish football, Irish football news, Limerick, loi news, LOI Premier Division, longford town, Shamrock Rovers, Sligo Rovers, st patricks athletic