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Just happy to still be around; League of Ireland 2020

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    Just happy to still be around; League of Ireland 2020

    After a close season when another team from Limerick went bust, and a Minister for Sport was blase about the national soccer league being abolished, we're finally back in business.

    In general it was a fairly quiet winter, with few big signings, most clubs seem happy with what they've got. With the first games this weekend, here's my predictions.

    1) Dundalk; The Lilywhites are still the team to beat and they've fine tuned their squad, adding full back Darragh Leahy from Bohs ,Greg Sloggett from Derry and Cammy Smith from Aberdeen via Dundee. Main worry would be the aging spine, especially how long can 39 year old goalkeeper Gary Rogers keep up his form.

    2) Shamrock Rovers; if the Hoops hadn't lost three games against rivals Bohs they could have won the league, but they did, and there lies the problem. Rovers can be invincible in top form, but they've dropped too many points in games they should have won easily. They still haven't found a top class striker and rely too much on Jack Byrne and converted winger Aaron Greene to get the goals.

    3) Derry city; to be honest, I haven't really kept up with the comings and goings at the Brandywell this year, but Derry were a good team that ran Bohs close for third place. Unfortunately both strikers have moved on, leaving a 22 goal gap behind them. If they've found at least one replacement, then I'm voting them 3rd.

    4) Bohemian FC; After all the off field headlines about sell out crowds and charity away shirts, what's going to happen on the pitch. We've made some decent signings, bringing back ex players Dan Casey and J.J Lunney and Canadian winger Kris Twardek. Losing both full backs is a blow but striker and Countdown star Dinny Corcoran is fit again.

    5) St Patrick's Athletic ; More big spending in Inchicore as millionaire Garret Kellegher continues to indulge his passion. Biggest deal of the season is their signing of Robbie Benson, not many players leave Dundalk voluntarily, and if Benson stays fit then Pat's could go a step or two higher.
    Although Pat's had the biggest signing last year as well, spending big to bring Chris Forrester back from Aberdeen. Forrester was disappointing to say the least, but Pat's fans will be hopeful that the management will get the best out of him.
    And that's the fly in the ointment, the manager. Last year Saint Patrick's appointed ex Dundalk captain Stephen O'Donnell as manager. But O'Donnell doesn't have the required qualifications, so journeyman manager Alan Matthews has been shoe horned into the dugout beside him. Will they be able to cooperate is the big question.

    6) Waterford; last year was a bit of a disaster for the blues, having qualified for Europe, they spent big, only to lose out through UEFA regulations. Owner Lee Power has kept putting the money in, but to a lesser degree. That said, they've brought in a few decent young players and should survive easily.

    7) Sligo Rovers; Sligo are the perennial mid tablers, and their large and long suffering fan base dream of glory days. It won't be this year however, having lost striker Dante Leverock to Poland and Kris Twardek to Bohs, they also lost midfielder Regan Donelan to pre season Cruciate ligament injury. Hard times ahead for the Bit of Red.

    8) Cork city; how the mighty have fallen, up to 2018,the league was between Dundalk and Cork, now Cork need to sell their sell on clauses that they had with Preston for Sean Maguire and Alan Browne, just so they could pay their bills and get a premier league licence. They've managed to put together a squad, but they'll be lucky to stay out of the play off places.

    9) Shelbourne; last year's 1st division champs arrive with big plans, but don't have the squad to back it up. Striker Karl Sheppard will be expected to get the goals and ex Cambridge man Gary Deegan will add steel to the midfield, but the rest of the squad looks pretty threadbare.

    10) Finn Harps; everyone's favourite second club, Harps are the plucky outsiders from a small town in Donegal who upset the odds, but the odds are just too long this year. Bottom barring a miracle.

    #2
    I'm a Cork man. I hope they do ok.

    Comment


      #3
      I wondered where Kris Twardek had ended up - we (Carlisle) had him on loan from Millwall a few seasons back, he had a terrific debut and looked like a real player, then steadily got worse and worse and soon disappeared from view altogether.

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        #4
        I relinquished my role as the away team previewer for the The Saint, the St. Pats programme. Sadly, due to other commitments I feel unable to dedicate the time to it this year. I have been doing it since 2014 and it has given me a great excuse to follow the League of Ireland closely from afar.

        I think there are some great strips in the League this year. Shels is my favourite but Bohs have made a good effort too. I think Shamrock Rovers will win the league. They continue to progress under their manager and this will be the icing on the cake of their heavy investment on and off the pitch.

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          #5
          What happened to Home Farm and Cobh Ramblers, the clubs that gave the world Ronnie Whelan and Roy Keane?

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            #6
            Originally posted by ingoldale View Post
            I relinquished my role as the away team previewer for the The Saint, the St. Pats programme. Sadly, due to other commitments I feel unable to dedicate the time to it this year. I have been doing it since 2014 and it has given me a great excuse to follow the League of Ireland closely from afar.

            I think there are some great strips in the League this year. Shels is my favourite but Bohs have made a good effort too. I think Shamrock Rovers will win the league. They continue to progress under their manager and this will be the icing on the cake of their heavy investment on and off the pitch.
            How do you get into that gig? I presume you're England based.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Jumbo McGinnis View Post

              How do you get into that gig? I presume you're England based.
              I lived in Dublin when I started which was how I came to following St. Pats. If you're interested I can put you in touch with the editor.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Rogin the Armchair fan View Post
                What happened to Home Farm and Cobh Ramblers, the clubs that gave the world Ronnie Whelan and Roy Keane?
                Home Farm gave up League of Ireland in the 90s, they're still one of the top underage clubs. Cobb Ramblers are still going in the second tier.

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                  #9
                  That was after the unfortunate Home Farm Everton period and the spilt that created Home Farm Fingal (soon rebranded as Dublin City), wasn't it?

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                    #10
                    Yep, none of that ended well.

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                      #11
                      I keep meaning to go to a game. Still haven't.

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                        #12
                        Kevin O' Connor of Waterford has the honour of the first goal of the season away to St Pat's. All four games finished 1.0 with two home wins and two away. Dundalk beat Derry and Finn Harps beat Sligo at home, while Waterford win away to Pats and Shelbourne have a good away win against Cork.

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                          #13
                          Last of the first round of games, Bohs 0 Shamrock Rovers 1,93rd minute winner after Bohs keeper spilled a shot, and he broke a bone in his foot and is out for an undisclosed time, football is shit sometimes.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Also, an unusual situation yesterday, where the Bohs v Rovers match went ahead, but it wasn't televised live due to health and safety concerns over the camera operators.

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