Bohs' Dave Mulcahy beats St Pat's Greg Bolger to a header during the sides' meeting at Dalymount Park. ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne
League of Ireland

Airtricity League previews: Football's back after the mid-season break

Here’s everything you need to know about the four games down for decision in the Airtricity League Premier Division tonight.

Cork City v Derry City (Turner’s Cross, 7.45pm)

IT HAS BEEN 12 seasons since Derry City took all three points away from Turner’s Cross and the Candystripes travel south tonight to take on the form team in the Premier Division.

The mid-season interval couldn’t have come at a worse time for Cork City who, after a slow start on their return to the top flight, are currently on a six-match unbeaten run in the league. A late John Dunleavy header saved that streak last time out, earning Tommy Dunne’s men a 1-1 draw away to Shamrock Rovers at the beginning of the month.

Two goals in the space of four second-half minutes from Mark Farren and Stephen McLaughlin gave Derry a 2-0 win when the sides met at the Brandywell and Dunne is hoping to avoid a repeat tonight.

“We made it difficult for ourselves as we did not play well on the night. Derry are a strong outfit, they were a top three side last season and have every chance of challenging for a similar position this season again.”

After losing 1-0 to Shelbourne last time out, Declan Devine will be hoping to end the Turner’s Cross hoodoo in his first trip as manager. Devine was on the sidelines as Stephen Kenny’s assistant when Derry won the EA Sports Cup last year and he’s hoping his team will draw on that positive memory rather than the negatives tonight.

That record has to end sometime and there is no reason why it can’t happen now.

Team news Cork’s Danny Murphy returns from suspension  but John Dunleavy is banned. Shane O’Connor is out (arm injury), while Dan Murray (groin) remains sidelined although Stephen Mulcahy, Kevin Murray and Neal Horgan are all back in training.

Derry are without suspended pair Shane McEleney and Barry Molloy. Stewart Greacen returns from injury while Ryan McBride and Ruaidhri Higgins face fitness tests. Kevin Deery and Mark Farren are out through injury.

Form Cork WDWDD Derry LWWWL

Odds Cork 13/8 Draw 11/5 Derry 8/5

Referee D McKeon

Verdict Draw


St Patrick’s Athletic v Bohemian FC (Richmond Park, 7.45pm)

The first meeting between these two sides was a dour Sunday afternoon affair televised live on RTÉ, but with Shamrock Rovers winning last night and Sligo idle this weekend, St Pat’s know that nothing less than a win will do if they are to keep the pressure on at the top.

Draws have been the Saints Achilles’ heel this season; they’ve already played out six stalemates, more than any other team in the league. They will be boosted by the news that James Chambers, who excelled in a deep midfield role in the early part of the season, is almost ready to make his comeback from a serious knee injury.

Meanwhile, Bohs boss Aaron Callaghan is setting his sights high after a recent string of impressive results saw the Gypsies snatch a late win against Shelbourne and then grind out a 0-0 draw at home to league leaders Sligo before the break.

“We’re six points behind them,” Callaghan said. “If we can go over there and get a win, we’d be just three points off second place which would be a huge achievement from our point of view.”

Team news For the Saints, Mark Rossiter remains to be the only absentee (knee) while James Chambers could return following an eight-week lay-off with a knee injury.

Bohemians are without suspended Evan McMillan but Owen Heary returns after a hamstring injury.

Form St Pat’s WDDLW Bohemian LDLWD

Odds St Pat’s 8/15 Draw 13/5 Bohemian 11/2

Referee A Kelly

Verdict Home


Drogheda United v Bray Wanderers (Hunky Dory Park, 7.45pm)

Drogheda’s strong start to the season has begun to unravel in recent weeks, but though they’ve only won once in their last six league outings, they’re still flying high in fourth place.

Drogs lost a couple of players over the break with Jack Flynn and Chris Kerr both leaving Hunky Dory Park, but manager Mick Cooke has no injury worries otherwise.

Instead, Cooke’s main concern is the visitors’ form. Bray have picked up 10 points from the last 15 in the league to put some daylight between themselves and the relegation strugglers, mainly thanks to the goals of Jason Byrne.

Although Drogheda came away from the Carlisle Grounds with a hard-fought 4-2 win earlier in the season, Cooke expects one of the league’s form sides to provide an equally tough test tonight.

“They were hitting some form before the break and I’m sure they will carry that into [tonight's game],” Cooke said. “You have to remember, Bray were the form side last season and they are more than capable of putting a run together.”

Team news Drogheda are at full strength with the exception of the suspended Eric Foley while Jack Flynn and Chris Kerr have both left the club over the break.

Bray Wanderers have a doubt over Jonathon Kelty (shin) while Sean Hurley has been added to the squad.

Form Drogheda LDLDW Bray WWDLW

Odds Drogheda Evs Draw 12/5 Bray 5/2

Referee P Sutton

Verdict Away


UCD v Dundalk (UCD Bowl, 7.45pm)

Monaghan United’s withdrawal from the league left UCD stranded at the foot of the Premier Division table but a win for the Students against fellow strugglers Dundalk would see them leapfrog the Lilywhites.

A Dundalk win would open up a five-point gap between the teams and with March’s 2-1 defeat in Oriel Park still fresh in the memory, UCD boss Martin Russell is anxious to make amends.

“We are always looking to continue the development of our young players and that obviously that starts against Dundalk,” Russell said. “They have already beaten us once this season and we will be looking to reverse that scoreline.”

Team news UCD are without trio Ger Barron (foot), Sean Russell (back) and Graham Rusk (knee). Daniel Ledwith is suspended.

Dundalk’s Stephen McDonnell is banned.


Odds UCD 11/10 Draw 23/10 Dundalk 23/10

Referee P McLaughlin

Verdict Home

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