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Dublin: 14 °C Thursday 15 November, 2018
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5 reasons why you should be watching the League of Ireland this weekend

There’s a Dublin derby, St Pat’s host Limerick and Bray travel to Turner’s Cross.

Shamrock Rovers and Bohemians face off today.
Shamrock Rovers and Bohemians face off today.
Image: INPHO

1. Dublin derby at Dalyer

JUST THREE GAMES into the new SSE Airtricity League season, old rivals Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers lock horns in Phibsboro tonight.

Both teams go into the Dublin derby on four points and even have identical records in relation to goals scored (five) and conceded so far (two).

“Form goes out the window,” says Bohs manager Owen Heary. “It’s all about who adapts well to the game.

“Big Dublin derbies against your biggest rivals – there’s no bigger game for us. It’ll be a challenge, but it’s one that the players are looking forward to.”

The home side are likely to be without injured captain Dave Mulcahy, Andy Mulligan and Lee Whelan while David O’Connor (ankle) is absent for the Hoops and Ryan Brennan (foot), Marty Waters (calf) and Stephen McPhail (tendonitis) are doubts.

2. Can Drogheda keep up the pace?

Having beaten Dundalk comfortably on the opening day of the season and rescued a draw away to Bohs thanks to Gary O’Neill’s double, Drogheda host Derry City at United Park.

Drogs boss Robbie Horgan was impressed with the character shown by his side in the latter stages at Dalymount but is well aware that they have not started games well so far this season and hopes to build success on their home form.

It’s been a couple of years since United Park was a fortress and that’s the aim for us this season,” he said. “We picked up a lot of draws here last year so it’s important to win your home games and after beating Dundalk we hope to follow it up against Derry.”

Opposite number Roddy Collins, who was critical of his players after their 1-0 loss to Cork City at the Brandywell, may have to travel south without defender Ryan McBride but goalkeeper Ger Doherty should be fit. Former captain Kevin Deery, meanwhile, has left the club.

3. Rebels to continue strong start

Cork City manager John Caulfield has been satisfied with how the 2014 campaign has begun after a draw against Premier Division champions St Patrick’s Athletic was improved upon with victory over Derry.

“Since pre-season the attitude and belief has been fantastic,” said Caulfield this week. “For us to have four points after two games, it’s a good start.

“The onus is on us, the expectation is obviously big and these are the type of games you have to be careful in,” he added.

Tonight’s opponents Bray earned a surprise three points against Sligo Rovers last time out thanks to Ciaran Byrne’s winner and are also unbeaten in their first two.

4. TV cameras at Richmond

Title holders St Pat’s feature in the live televised game on Saturday afternoon when they welcome Limerick to Richmond Park (3pm on RTÉ Two).

After their 1-1 draw at Turner’s Cross, the Saints needed an injury-time strike from Christy Fagan to rescue three points against UCD last Friday night in a game which also saw influential midfielder Keith Fahey limp off injured.

Limerick head to Dublin with just a single point picked up so far — they have recorded a draw with Bray and defeat to Dundalk.

5. Sligo have room for improvement

In Saturday’s late game, Sligo Rovers look to bounce back after losing out to Bray as they welcome Dundalk to the Showgrounds.

Ian Baraclough blamed a poor pitch at the Carlisle Grounds last week but did admit they his players weren’t good enough.

The Lilywhites showed character to put the Louth derby behind them and get the better of Limerick but face a tough trip as the Bit O’Red are unbeaten in 11 games at home.

SSE Airtricity League fixtures (all kick-offs Friday 7.45pm unless stated)

Premier Division

  • Bohemian FC v Shamrock Rovers
  • Drogheda United v Derry City
  • UCD v Athlone Town
  • Cork City V Bray Wanderers
  • St Patrick’s Athletic v Limerick (Satruday 3.15pm)
  • Sligo Rovers v Dundalk (Saturday 7.45pm)

First Division

  • Galway FC v Shamrock Rovers
  • Finn Harps v Cobh Ramblers (8pm)
  • Shelbourne v Waterford United (8pm)
  • Wexford Youths v Longford Town (8pm)

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Ben Blake

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