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Just happy to still be around; League of Ireland 2020

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    On Saturday Waterford beat Sligo 1.0 to go back to third place. Earlier was the battle of the bottom two, Finn Harps and Cork City. A 1.1 draw didn't really help either, though it did keep Harps a point ahead and out of the relegation places.

    Tonight it's the league leaders against the reigning champions as Dundalk take on Shamrock Rovers. What should be a tight game has been somewhat spoiled by Dundalk playing their reserves, as they have a vital European game on Thursday. Not surprising that Rovers are 3.0 up after 60 minutes and all of a sudden, Dundalk are down to fourth, and in some danger of missing out on European football altogether next year.


      Originally posted by elguapo4 View Post
      Having lost the top of the table clash last week, Bohs make it two defeats in a row when easily beaten 0.2 at home to Waterford. With Dundalk likely to beat Shelbourne tonight ( they're 2.0 up after half an hour) , the race for 2nd place has become a lot more congested.

      Speaking earlier about drug gangs and football, did I ever tell the story about when I became a " person of interest " to the police about a gangland hit?

      It was 1987 or 88 and I had just come home from two weeks on holiday in Majorca. On the following Saturday I went out for a run through the park. I noticed a game playing, and as I knew one of the teams I stopped to watch for a while. I was watching and talking to the manager, and I noticed that the regular keeper wasn't playing. " yeah, he's away for the weekend " said the manager " one of the lads knows this guy,and said he'll play in goal for us, but he's shite" ,which he was.

      The halftime whistle blew, I said goodbye, and headed home, so what happened afterwards I heard second hand. Apparently the manager had a go at the keeper, which ended up in a full scale shouting match and the keeper being subbed. Five minutes in to the second half, as the keeper was sitting on the side of the pitch, a gunman walked out of the trees behind him and shot him dead, the murder has never been solved.

      My part in it came when I heard that the police were looking for witnesses, including a tall, suntanned man seen running in the area. I always wondered was I a silhouette with a question mark in some police file.
      Bloody hell.


        Apparently he was a minor criminal, nobody ever knew why a hit was put on him, but he obviously got on the wrong side of some very dangerous people. As you can imagine it traumatised a lot of the team, the manager was a suspect for a while, and they disbanded at the end of the season.


          As we move into the final few weeks of the season, results at the weekend have clarified things at the top, while at the bottom, three clubs are battling to avoid the relegation places.

          On Friday Shamrock Rovers beat Sligo Rovers 4.0, which leaves the Hoops needing just two wins in their last five games to claim the title, while Sligo's slim European hopes took a major blow. Third place Waterford were beaten by Derry City, which probably ensured premier division football for next year for the Canthetripes.

          On Saturday, St Patrick's Athletic beat Cork City 2.1, which leaves Cork bottom of the league, with some difficult games to come. Meanwhile Bohemians beat Shelbourne 3.1. Bohs are nearly over the line for European football again next year, while Shels are still looking over their shoulders at the drop.

          Finally earlier today, Finn Harps will be happy with a 0.0 draw with Dundalk, who rested 10 of their players after their European adventures.


            St Patrick's Athletic have declared a positive case of Covid, so their game against Dundalk this weekend is off. This could mean Dundalk having to play 4 games in a week at the end of the season.


              Anyone know what Preston owner Trevor Hemmings is like? Cork City FORAS, the fans owned trust, are recommending that members sell the club to him for 1 Euro.

              As I said earlier, at the start of the season, Cork had to cash in their sell-on clauses on ex players Sean Maguire and Alan Browne to have enough money to start the season. As part, of the deal, Hemmings has first refusal on purchasing the club if they decided to sell it. It sounds like he took advantage of a struggling club, but I don't know him, so it could be just what Cork needs.


                Shamrock Rovers can win the league tomorrow, if they beat Derry City at home, and Bohemians fail to beat Dundalk away. However, they have been hit by Covid, with International midfielder Jack Byrne and striker Aaron Greene both testing positive. This is unlikely to stop them winning the league , but could affect their quest to win the double.


                  Rovers next 3 games postponed, I think they can just about squeeze them in before the end of the season. Bohemians with 1 confirmed case now too, but they've confirmed they'll play Friday night regardless


                    So the week after Shamrock Rovers get a 10 day rest because 8 of them decided that it would be a great idea to watch Ireland v Slovakia together, the league have decided that all games must be played on time if you can field 13 fit players. I'm sure relegation threatened Finn Harps, who were due to play a severely weakened hoops side, are thrilled by that decision.


                      In tonight's early game, Sligo Rovers beat Cork City 2.1. In the 7.30 kick off, Finn Harps are 1.0 ahead against Bohemians at HT . If this stays the same, it means that Cork are relegated and Shamrock Rovers are champions.


                        Finn Harps win 2.0 to relegate Cork City. Putting it in context, in the 2016 census, Ballybofey ( the home of Harps) had a population of 4,859, the population of Cork city was approximately 220,000.


                          Last day of the first division in the League of Ireland. Only one team goes up automatically, with the next four teams playing off for the right to play the second bottom team in the Premier league ( likely to be Finn Harps).

                          The top spot is up for grabs between Drogheda United and Bray Wanderers, with only a point separating them, with Drogheda ahead. Depending on results, everyone down to seventh place Cobh Ramblers could still go up.


                            Very sad news from Cork City, where FORAS members have voted to give their club away again. Ah well.


                              Football in Munster , especially in Cork, is very odd. Cork, Limerick and Waterford are all decent sized cities who have been playing football as long as anywhere in Ireland, but t none of them have been able to consistently run a successful club. Cork City, at 36 years old, is ancient by the standards of Cork football. There are obviously a lot of decent people involved in FORAS,but they were as inclined as anyone to go for "boom and bust ". Player like Liam Miller, Colin Healy, Dave Bennett, Damian Delaney and Kevin O'Connor have come back to their home town club on long contracts for big money, and depending on European results to fund it was always a risky strategy. The main thing is that they'll still have a club to watch.


                                Last weekend of the regular season, with a few things still to be decided.

                                Tonight Longford Town play Galway United in the First division play off. Galway were bottom of the league with no wins when we came out of lockdown in July, but the appointment of former Cork City manager John Caulfield sent them on a virtually unbeaten run ,and they managed to sneak in to the play offs, and are probably now favourites.

                                Whoever wins tonight will play the second last side in the premier division. That will probably still be Finn Harps, who have made a spirited fight of it, and are two points behind third last Shelbourne. Harps are at home to European chasing Waterford while Shelbourne host Shamrock Rovers.

                                Theoretically, everyone else can still reach third place, and European football, but in reality it comes down to a straight shootout between Dundalk and Waterford. Dundalk have a slight advantage and should make it, though both would qualify if one of the top three wins the Cup ,which has still to be finished.


                                  Tonight was the last round of games in the Premier division of the league .

                                  Big story was the great escape for Finn Harps. The Donegal side were hot favourites to finish in the bottom two with five games to go, but three wins and a draw in their last five games left them third from bottom after a 1.0 win against Waterford tonight. Shelbourne were the side that took their place in the relegation play off, a wretched run of form ending with a 2.0 defeat to Shamrock Rovers, who finished the season unbeaten. Shelbourne now face Longford Town in the play off game this weekend.

                                  Waterford's defeat let in Sligo Rovers to fourth place and possible European football, after beating a reserve Dundalk team . Excellent finish by Sligo, having lost their first four games.


                                    what I predicted ; The actual final table

                                    1.Dundalk ; 1.Shamrock Rovers

                                    2.Shamrock Rovers ; 2.Bohemians

                                    3. Derry City ; 3. Dundalk

                                    4. Bohs; 4. Sligo Rovers

                                    5. St Patrick's Athletic ; 5. Waterford

                                    6. Waterford ; 6. St Patrick's Athletic

                                    7.Sligo Rovers; 7. Derry City

                                    8.Cork City ; 8. Finn Harps

                                    9. Shelbourne; 9. Shelbourne

                                    10. Finn Harps ; 10. Cork City

                                    So, one correct out of ten, better luck next season.


                                      The last game of the league season today ended with Longford town beating Shelbourne 1.0 in the promotion/ relegation play off .A few weeks ago Shelbourne were one of a group of teams clustered in mid table, who could have qualified for Europe or got dragged into the relegation zone. Six defeats in a row made it the latter, and they return to the second tier after only one year.


                                        Disappointing end to the season for Bohemians, going down 1.4 at home in the quarter finals of the Cup to Dundalk.

                                        In the other quarter final tonight, Shamrock Rovers go two down away to Finn Harps before HT. In the 49th minute Rovers are awarded a penalty. The Harps keeper saves it, but they can't clear it, and concede another penalty, this one scored. Two minutes later they got another penalty to equalise. They got the winner after 71 minutes.

                                        Looking like a Rovers v Dundalk final...again.