1. Hutton has got a tough job on his hands
When a club sacks their manager fans can always hope for the ‘new manager bounce’ which often ushers in a honeymoon period for the new incumbent. Peter Hutton and the Derry supporters must have cursed the fixture list as his team were made take the long journey down to Cork for his first match in charge. They duly lost 2-0 and while the former Candystripes’ skipper said he will be bringing back the ‘Derry way’ he must now realise just how tricky that job might be.
Such was the backing given to Roddy Collins during the off-season that he was allowed bring in a multitude of his own players while letting many go the other way. His son, Roddy Jr. is perhaps the best characterization of this fact and he was instantly dropped to the bench for the game at Turner’s Cross. Goals have been an endangered species at the Brandywell this season but they face Drogheda on Friday night, who shipped seven against their rivals Dundalk on Tuesday evening.
2. Sligo Rovers are back in the title race
At the beginning of last season Ian Baraclough’s Sligo side started the defence of their title by winning their first eight games in the league. At that point, they seemed untouchable and yet they ended up finishing third. In 2014, they began by only getting three points from their first five games. Incidentally, it was their eighth game where their turnaround began, beating UCD by five goals to nil.
They won twice more this week and while they were games they would have expected to win, against Bray and Athlone respectively, it meant they have secured thirteen points out of the last fifteen. In that time too, they also captured the first silverware of the season by winning the Setanta Cup. They are still eight points behind the leaders but they travel to Dundalk on Friday night. A critical game for their championship aspirations. They could yet to make it a five way scrap for the title.
3. Bohemians are involved in another relegation battle
After an unfortunate defeat against Drogheda on Friday, Bohemians have now gone seven games without a win and lie third from bottom of the pile. The season started with optimism after hammering UCD out in Belfield on the opening day and it could be argued that Heary himself didn’t help things by raising the expectations pre-season by talking about a comfortable mid-table finish. But with experienced campaigners like Aidan Price, Jason Byrne and Paddy Kavanagh coming into the fold, Bohs fans can be forgiven for thinking that relegation worries would not enter their minds this year.
While Athlone look utterly bereft of hope of avoiding the automatic drop, a relegation play-off awaits the team directly above them and the Phibsboro outfit look set to be battling to avoid that spot once again. If Heary can’t get a performance out of his players away to bitter rivals Shamrock Rovers on Friday then it will be an ominous sign for the rest of the season.
And one more thing…
It seems unlikely that Soccer Republic will have Dermot Keely on anytime soon after his ‘morons’ jibe at Liverpool supporters attending the friendly with Liverpool caused such an uproar. While Keely’s comments may be misguided, as it’s highly doubtful insulting people will get them interested in the League of Ireland, his attitude was not the most damaging of the members who sat on the panel.
Richie Sadlier’s refusal to even enter the debate and give solutions to how things might be approved was pretty frustrating. His constant refrain that the league is semi-professional was correct but ignored that he ran a fully professional St.Pats as CEO and still the crowds never came. Of course, he received none of the opprobrium the former Shels manager did, being potrayed as the ‘voice of reason’ by many who saw the exchanges. Is it really any wonder why men like Kealy who have put a lifetimes work into the league are so belligerent?
LOI WEEK 14 Fixtures (All Friday 23rd May, 7.45 unless stated)
Athlone Town vs. UCD Athlone Town Stadium
Bray Wanderers vs. Cork City Carlisle Grounds
Derry City vs. Drogheda United The Brandywell
Dundalk vs. Sligo Rovers Oriel Park
Limerick F.C. vs. St. Patrick’s Athletic Thomond Park
Shamrock Rovers vs. Bohemian F.C. 8.00 Tallaght Stadium
Cobh Ramblers vs. Galway F.C. St. Colman’s Park
Waterford United vs. Longford Town R.S.C.
Finn Harps vs. Shelbourne Finn Park
Shamrock Rovers B vs. Wexford Youths Sunday, 3.00 Tallaght Stadium