Conor Hayes is here to discuss the latest talking points emanating from this week’s games in the League of Ireland.
Scheduling games against Spain’s destruction had predictable results…
Only in the League of Ireland. Only in this league of ours would the schedulers elect to have a full league programme while what may be the biggest game of the World Cup Group Stages took place. It was even more galling that the clash came when the holders faced off against the current best in the country at Oriel Park. While a very impressive crowd of over 3,000 turned up at Dundalk, one wonders how many spectators would have come down had the game been moved to Saturday afternoon when no World Cup game was taking place.
The other games, unsurprisingly, recorded even more dire attendances than usual. But it wasn’t just money lost through the turnstiles which showed the fixture list up as folly, any opportunity at publicity for a top of the table clash between two great footballing teams was lost. The usual superb Extratime.ie has no one to do their normal minute by minute coverage and RTÉ had to seriously curtail their Soccer Republic programme. Given the man hours that go into covering a World Cup it was a wonder they had anyone to get a show out at all.
Do the FAI believe Airtricity League supporters are so insular they care for no other form of football than the version on their own doorstep? We now go into a two week break but the time and date for the repeat of the 2010 final was known since December. The fixture list should have been changed accordingly.
Cork are not going away…
To confound the stupidity of taking on the World Cup, the other two members of the top four faced off in Tallaght on Friday night and it was the Leesiders who bagged a priceless victory with a 2-0 success. All season the cynics have been waiting for City to fall away but as we reach its halfway point there seems little sign of it yet. Given the vociferous nature of their home support they will always pick up more points at Turner’s Cross but to secure a win away from home against a title rival ramps up their challenge significantly.
The Cork faithful must hope that the good work done off the pitch in terms of getting thousands through the gates every week will manifest itself on the pitch in terms of a loosening of the budget. John Caulfield has already added Josh O’Shea to his squad, a promising youngster from UCC. If more are to follow it may stave off the accusations that Cork won’t last the pace as the days get shorter and the season enters its final stages.
Heary buys himself some time…
Bohemians recorded their first victory in ten matches on Friday against Bray at the seaside. They did it in some style cruising to a 5-0 triumph with Dinny Corcoran netting a hat trick. As Bohemians slump worsened frustration began to grow among the fans particularly with both the tactics and team selections from the man in the dugout. But with the thumping at the Carlisle Grounds, as well a morale boosting win away from home against Limerick the week previous in the cup, Heary has relieved some of the pressure that had been building.
Their win on Friday moved them up two places in the table and going into the mid-season break they still are involved in both the League and FAI cups. Of course, the two recent victories came away from home which means Bohs will have to wait another two weeks for a chance to atone for their home record, which must be one of the worst in world football. The Gypsies haven’t won a league game at Dalymount Park since the 27 September 2013. Their next chance comes against bottom of the table Athlone Town straight after the hiatus and such is the nature of the sport anything but a win will turn the heat right back up on Heary.
One More Thing…
While the Bohs manager might worry that the break has come at an inopportune moment so will Keith Long of Athlone after seeing his side grab their second win of the campaign in a six goal drubbing of Drogheda. With the Boynesiders looking absolutely hopeless at the back, safety for the midlands club looks genuinely possible, a thought scarcely believable even a few games ago.
Conor Hayes, Pundit Arena.