League of Ireland : Series 1

So the opening weekend of the new season is upon us and it certainly has thrown up some mouth watering games. After a long absence and much negative publicity towards the league in recent months, it is an welcoming sight that the league is restarting.

Bohemians vs Sporting Fingal. Dalymount Park, Fri, 19.35

Possibly the best of the first series of fixtures. Bohemians will begin the defence of their title in front of their own fans against the current FAI cup holders and newly promoted Sporting Fingal. Bohemians will have a number of debutantes on show, as will Sporting with Glen Crowe likely to start upfront. The former Bohemians striker is the highest goalscorer in the club’s history and will be looking to notch against his former club.

Prediction : Home win

Drogheda vs UCD. United Park, Fri, 19.45

A potential relegation six pointer this early in the season, both Drogheda and UCD have been tipped for relegation this season. Both teams will be looking for a victory in this game to get themselves off to the perfect start in battling against the drop. Drogheda will be looking for the likes of Glen Fitzpatrick and Robbie Martin to score the goals to keep them up. UCD will be hoping their lack of experience won’t be too much of a burden this season.

Prediction : Home win

St.Patricks vs Galway United. Richmond Park, Fri, 19.45

A tough game too call between two sides who will be hoping to steer well away from the danger zone this season. St.Pats were pretty inconsistent at home last season and will be hoping they can get off to a winning start at home this season. New signings such as Alex Williams, Brian Cash and Vinny Faherty will be looking to make their bows. Galway beat St.Pats on the first game of last season and have every chance of repeating that feat this year too. Stephen O’Donnell and Karl Sheppard will be looking to impress on their debuts for Sean Connor’s team and Barry Ryan will be hoping to keep a clean sheet against his former club.

Prediction : Score Draw

Bray Wanderers vs Dundalk. Carlisle Grounds, Fri, 19.45

Bray didn’t expect to be in the league this season but the demotion of Derry City and Cork City (now Cork City Foras Co-op FC) has lead to them starting the season as many people’s favourites for relegation this season. Bray have lost a number of key players and have struggled to replace them. Eddie Gormley will have to rely on youth set up for large parts of this season once again. Dundalk are aiming much higher and hope to gain a European place by the end of the season. Alan Cawley, Neale Fenn and Stephen Maher have been brought in to help the club take a big step towards their goal.

Prediction : Away Win

Sligo Rovers vs Shamrock Rovers. The Showgrounds, Sat, 19.45

Shamrock Rovers travel to Sligo hoping to come away with 3 points to send out a message to the rest of the league, having pushed Bohemians all the way last season but ultimately losing out to their Dublin rivals. Signings such as Billy Dennehy, Dan Murray and James Chambers have added more options to Michael O’Neill’s squad and he will be hoping to go one better this season. Sligo Rovers have lost top scorer Rafael Cretaro but have replaced him with former Shamrock Rovers’ striker Padraig Amond who will be hoping to nail down a regular starting spot in a hard working Sligo team.

Prediction : Score Draw

Betting Tips

I would have Bohemians -1 as my NAP @ 6/5. Dundalk are great value -1 against Bray @ 12/5 so I would have them as my NB. Paddy Madden to score first for Bohemians @ 9/2 is a very good price for a striker who has been in great form throughout pre-season. Padraig Amond (23/10) and Karl Sheppard (3/1) to score at anytime look like good bets too.

If you want to follow my predictions for the 5 games then you can receive odds of around 56/1 for the accumulator.

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