An interrupted set of fixtures take place this week as the top teams from last season compete in the Setanta Cup over the weekend, however these teams will be taking part in some action on Tuesday night. UCD got their season off to a great start last week and sit on top of the league thanks to their 3-0 drubbing of Drogheda, however, surely it is too soon to read into positions in the table just yet. With players beginning to gel with one another and reaching full fitness, this round of fixtures could prove who has the credentials to challenge for the top honours come the end of the season.
Galway United v Bray Wanderers Terryland Park, Friday, 12th of March 19.45 pm
Galway United got their season off to a poor start away against St.Pats as they lost 2-0 and had midfielder Stephen O’Donnell sent off within 17 minutes, however, they should fare a lot better against a Bray side who narrowly lost against Dundalk on the first day of the season thanks to a last minute goal from Garry Breen. Galway will be hoping their home form can help them succeed this season, or they may face the prospect of being dragged into a relegation dogfight that few would have predicted.
Prediction : Home win
Sporting Fingal v Sligo RoversMorton Stadium, Friday, 12th of March, 19.45 pm
In a replay of last seasons FAI cup final, Sporting Fingal will be looking to secure another victory over the Bit O’Red. Fingal were victorious last season in a tense final that finished 2-1 in Tallaght Stadium. Both teams faced tough assignments on the opening weekend, with Fingal going away to Bohemians and losing 1-0 whereas Sligo faced Shamrock Rovers at home and secured a point after a 1-1 draw. Fingal will be without left back Lorcan Fitzgerald who faces 6 weeks on the sidelines due to injury. Sligo don’t appear to have any injury concerns ahead of the game. Fingal will be hoping to improve on their good showing against Bohemians and get their season up and running.
Prediction : Draw
Dundalk v Drogheda Oriel Park, Sunday, 14th of March, 16.30 pm
Drogheda come into this game bottom of the league after being demolished by newly promoted UCD and may be questioning how they’ll survive in this division already. Dundalk managed to score a last minute winner away against Bray last week and will be hoping to be a lot more convincing in front of goal against their Boyneside rivals. In a local derby anything can happen, so the form book ,or lack there of , goes out the window. Drogheda will be hoping to move off the bottom of the league whilst Dundalk will be looking to make it a perfect 6 points so far this season.
Prediction : Home win
UCD v Bohemians The Belfield Bowl, Tuesday, 16th of March, 19.45 pm
UCD enter this game as league leaders against the current champions Bohemians. The Students were very impressive last week away against Drogheda and will be hoping to catch Bohemians off guard after a sluggish start to their season see them beat Sporting Fingal 1-0 at home. Ciaran Kilduff may prove the main threat for UCD after his brace against Drogheda last week. Bohemians will be expecting their extensive strike force to click into place and producing the goods in front of goal to make this game a lot more comfortable than last weeks edgy performance.
Prediction : Away Win
Shamrock Rovers v St.Patrick’s Athletic Tallaght Stadium, Tuesday, 16th of March, 20.00 pm
The first Dublin derby of the year sees St.Pats travel to Shamrock Rovers looking to build on their impressive victory last week against Galway. Rovers got their campaign off to a slow start against Sligo Rovers with a 1-1 draw, however The Hoops are facing big problems ahead of this game. Strikers Gary Twigg and Dessie Baker have both been sidelined for lengthy periods after sustaining injuries in the club’s previous outings, a lack of fire power is not what manager Michael O’Neill was hoping for, as he hopes to pursue the clubs ambition of ending their long wait for a trophy. St.Pats will go into this game full of confidence and have every chance of winning the first Dublin derby of this season.
Prediction : Away win
My NAP this week has to involve Dundalk somehow, Drogheda were very poor last week so I’m going to go for Dundalk/Dundalk HT/FT @ 7/5. Personally my NB has got to be St.Pats who are a huge price @ 7/2 . Pete Mahon’s side were impressive last week against Galway and I can’t see where Rovers are going to get their goals from with Twigg and Baker out injured. Ciaran Kilduff of UCD may be worth a punt @ 7/1 to score first against Bohemians. The Champions started slowly against Fingal last week and may well be caught out by UCD’s undoubted pace up front. Elsewhere Karl Sheppard @ 6/4 and Ryan Guy @ 4/1 look like decent anytime goalscorer bets.
If you’d like to follow my predictions for the 5 games, you can receive odds of around 55/1 for the accumulator.