UCD v Sligo Rovers
Friday’s 2-1 defeat away to Bohemians proved to be the final act of Liam Buckley’s time in charge of Sligo Rovers but as we so often see, the decision to part ways with the manager brought about a huge reaction on Monday as the Bit O’Red stunned Derry City at the Showgrounds. Caretaker boss and former Sligo midfielder John Russell has been given a wonderful opportunity to follow up as Sligo Rovers face UCD this coming Friday.
A draw at home to Dundalk and a win against second bottom Finn Harps looked to have breathed fresh life into UCD’s survival hopes but a season ending injury to star striker Colm Whelan may just have taken the wind out of UCD’s already flimsy sail.
UCD shocked Sligo at the Showgrounds earlier in the campaign by coming from 2-0 down to claim a point but Whelan was on the scoresheet that night and the Irish under-21 international appeared to really be getting to grips with playing at this higher level prior to his injury. How UCD replace his goals and his presence up front in terms of his link up play and constant movement remains to be seen, it may be a task they simply can’t overcome.
The summer transfer window will soon be open but UCD being a college side do not sign players from other LOI clubs, instead they promote from within or attract players from elsewhere on college scholarships. This system is going to make replacing Whelan and most likely Liam Kerrigan too (who is being linked with a move away) an almost impossible task.
Ex-Falkirk striker Aidan Keena has netted 7 goals in just 15 matches including 2 goals in his last 4 and he may be worth a check in terms of a goalscorer bet.
Bohemians v Drogheda United
Drogheda United pulled off perhaps the biggest upset of the season so far by downing champions Shamrock Rovers on Monday night, a win that brought the Hoops unbeaten streak of 13 games to an end. That’s now two wins on the spin for the Drogs who had previously gone five games without a win but don’t expect this purple patch to extend into Friday.
Monday’s hard-fought 1-0 win against Rovers will have taken volumes out of the Drogheda players legs with Kevin Doherty’s men already suffering through injuries and suspensions. A makeshift back four may be in place for this game against a Bohemians outfit who will be smarting from Monday’s 3-0 hammering away to Dublin rivals St.Pat’s.
Drogheda’s only away win this season was at bottom of the table UCD and with Drogheda now just three points behind Bohemians, this is a game Bohs simply must win or there will be fresh questions over the future of their boss Keith Long.
While Bohs home form has been nothing to shout about, they have only lost twice on home soil with those defeats coming against the top two sides. They should have enough to win this and as said earlier, they simply have to if they want to keep their hopes of European football alive.
Dundalk v St. Patrick’s Athletic
A title charge from Dundalk? Surely not! That has been the discussion around the league this week following Dundalk’s first away win of the season against none other than Derry City on Friday while on Monday the Lilywhites made it three wins on the spin and six unbeaten with a hard-fought victory at Finn Harps. As a result, Stephen O’Donnel’s charges find themselves just one point off second with a game in hand and eight points off the top.
Having assembled what is essentially an entirely new squad in the off-season it’s fair to say this Dundalk team look much further along in their progression than expected at this stage of the project. Perhaps most impressively, Dundalk have lost the least amount of games in the top-flight this season with their only turnovers a shock defeat to local rivals Drogheda United and a much changed XI losing away to Shamrock Rovers. Both of those games ended 1-0.
Before a ball was kicked this season, many would have had St.Pat’s as being best of the rest behind the top two but the Saints now find themselves outside of the European places with supporters seemingly unimpressed by new manager Tim Clancy so far. However, a 3-0 win against rivals Bohemians on Monday will have helped greatly with Tunde Owolabi bagging a hat-trick despite not playing a huge role so far this season. Expect that to change now with Owolabi likely to cause Dundalk a few headaches given he has scored 3 goals in 6 previous games against them.
It’s been noticeable in the last two away matches that Pat’s have set up quite conservatively, particularly in the game away to Derry City (0-0). With Dundalk flying at home this year, don’t be surprised if the Saints set up to play on the counter again here.
Pats very much had the upper hand in this fixture last year but that form is totally irrelevant now given the large turnover at both clubs. With Dundalk winning 6/8 at home this season, they are likely to be the ones on the front foot pushing for the three points. However, with the previous H2H this season ending 0-0 and Dundalk drawing a joint-highest number of games (7) it may pay to play it safe on Friday.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
18+ please gamble responsibly.
Back the Four Star Selections as a Treble on Betfair ⬇️
*Bet link only appears when accessing from mobile.
Haven’t got a Betfair account? You’re in luck…
Sign up to Betfair and get a full refund if your first bet loses. Grab an account through the offer below and place £20 on the 2/1 Irish Premier Best Bets Treble. Here are the two possible outcomes: