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Tuesday 31 January 2023 Dublin: 8°C
Pic: Inpho. Shels players celebrate their goal last week.
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It's Friday, so here's all your Airtricity League Premier Division team news...
Here’s what the top-flight managers expect this evening.

Bohemians v Shelbourne

AARON CALLAGHAN TAKES charge of his Bohs side for the first time at home tonight. And it could be an interesting night in Phibsborough.

Newly-promoted Shels visit their near neighbours at Dalymount Park in the first Dublin derby of the season. We’ll be there to liveblog the action throughout, incidentally.

“Shelbourne had a fantastic year last year and they have the advantage of continuity over us,” says O’Callaghan. “But we are on our home patch and we’ve got to go out and prove to ourselves that we are good enough.”

Last week, Bohs lost 1-0 at Derry last week while Shels were denied a memorable win over Sligo by a late equaliser. Alan Mathews though, who had O’Callaghan as his assistant in the past, is optimistic.

“There are a lot of positives to take from the way we played last week,” he says. “We should have kept the ball a little bit better in the second half – but we’ll work on that as we go along. There is plenty to look forward to for the rest of the season.”

Team news

Bohs bring back Owen Heary after he was rested in the Setanta Sports Cup on Monday. Danny Joyce also returns but Adam Martin (suspension) and Keith Ward (ankle) are out.  David Scully (Achilles), Stephen Traynor (nose injury) and Peter McMahon (flu) are also out but though Dave Mulcahy (groin) has returned to training and may be available.

Shels continue without injured Stephen Paisley but Kevin Dawson, Paul Byrne and Anto Murphy have been passed fit. Barry Clancy is suspended following the accumulation of four yellow cards.

Bray Wanderers v Derry City

BRAY WANDERERS WILL look to get off to winning ways in their first home league game but expect a tough test against a Derry City side that has won on its last three visits to the Carlisle Grounds.

Wanderers have failed to keep a clean sheet against the Candystripes in the previous  12 meetings between the sides in all competitions

“We did ok last week against St Pats but we still need to improve,” says Bray’s director of football Pat Devlin. ”Derry City will be tough, we know that but it’s our first home game and hopefully the lads can get us three points and set us on our way.”

New Candystipes boss Declan Devine is not getting carried away with that winning start either.

“We’re happy with the start we’ve made but we will not be lulled into a false sent of security. Bray has always been a tough venue for us and while we may have won there twice last season, you can’t take anything for granted against a Pat Devlin team. It’s wide open and windy and we’ll certainly have to be on our guard if we are to get anything from the game,” he says.

Team news:

Bray are without suspended Dave Webster while Adam Mitchell (groin) is a doubt. Definitely out are long term injury victims Shane O’Connor (groin), Daire Doyle (ankle), and Stephen Brennan (hamstring). Kevin Knight returns after international duty.

Derry continue without injured Kevin Deery (calf) and Brian McGroarty, who is only working his way back to fitness. Owen Morrison comes into contention while Rory Patterson returns after missing the Setanta Sports Cup game against Linfield as making a recent move from Windsor Park to City.

Turner’s Cross will host a top-flight game again tonight. Pic: INPHO/Donall Farmer

Cork City v Drogheda United

TURNER’S CROSS WILL return to the top flight tonight with old foes Drogheda United visiting Leeside.

“Looking back on last week’s defeat, we need to improve on that performance,” says Rebel Army boss, of a disappointing start at UCD seven days ago.

“I hope that we will respond and get our season up and running. I think the players are looking forward to this game, and it cannot come quick enough from our point of view.”

Drogheda United will also be hoping to get their season going after they were beaten by champions Shamrock Rovers.

“Turners Cross won’t be an easy place to go, obviously Tommy’s side got caught on the hop by UCD. They will be no pushovers and they have added well over the close season,” says United boss Mick Cooke.

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Team news:

City are without Stephen Mulcahy, Kevin Murray and Neal Horgan – all with knee injuries. Daryl Horgan (flu) returns but Davin O’Neill is still doubtful with flu. Colin Healy (knee) and Tadhg Purcell (groin) also look set to miss out.

Drogheda’s Paul Crowley remains out while Declan O’Brien and Sean Breannan are doubts, although Brennan returns from suspension. Eric Foley is still suspended while Ryan and Gavin Brennan also return from suspensions.

Dundalk v St Patrick’s Athletic

“DUNDALK HAVE GOT a lot of new bodies and young players in their team like ourselves,” says Liam Buckley ahead of the Saints trip to Louth.

“So it will be a tough test. I think it is going to be a very tight and competitive league this year so there will be no easy games. You don’t want to have a bad start to the league so it is important we get a result.”

The game is Sean McCaffrey’s first in charge at home too, having drawn 0-0 with Monaghan United first time out while the Saints carved out a 1-0 win over Bray at home.

“It will be a different type of match to Monaghan,” he says. “St Pat’s are a star-studded outfit and an expensive outfit. It will be very interesting.  We have the quality and individual talent in the squad to beat anybody. That’s my honest opinion. But it’s just going to take us a wee while for it to gel and for the players to mature.”

Team news:

Dundalk FC are without Chris Shields (knee) through injury while Mark Griffin (groin) and Eoghan Osborne (leg) are also out. Michael Rafter (ankle), Nathan Murphy (hamstring) and Paul Walsh (thigh) are doubts.

Jake Kelly and Christy Fagan are suspended for St Pats while Greg Bolger returns from a ban. Aidan Price is still working his way back to fitness.

Stephen Kenny on the line at Drogheda last week. Pic: INPHO/Donall Farmer

Shamrock Rovers v Monaghan United

RODDY COLLINS RETURNS to take on old club Rovers, who began with that win in Drogheda. And he’s relishing it.

“It’s excellent to be back playing in the Premier Division,” he said this week. “Last week although we got a point against Dundalk in the end I was disappointed that we didn’t start the season with a win.”

New Shamrock Rovers boss Stephen Kenny expects a battle, meanwhile: “Every single victory this season will be hard fought. I think the idea that you might have easy games is naïve. We can’t drop our standards for anyone or we will get turned over, that is the same as it is for any team. This is our first home game of the season, and we will be looking for a win from that,” he says.

Team news:

Rovers are minus Ciaran Kilduff (broken metatarsal), Conor McCormack (ankle ligament injury) and Conor Winn (back) through injury. Killian Brennan returns to the Hoops squad having missed Monday’s Setanta Sports Cup clash with Cliftonville through suspension.

Monaghan have doubts over Robert Bayly, Aidan Collins, Gareth O’Connor and Shaun Maher through injury while Keith Quinn returns from a ban.

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