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5 Things We Learned From Week 12 Of The SSE Airtricity League

5 Things We Learned From Week 12 Of The SSE Airtricity League
By John Dodge

Did we see a couple of teams drop out of the title race?  Let's see what happened in week 12 of the SSE Airtricity League

1) Dundalk are now clear favourites

Pat Hoban is Dundalk's leading scorer with 7 goals - Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

It was this time last year that St Pats went top and they were never caught. Bookies are starting to believe Dundalk won't be caught either.  Following the 7-0 thumping of Drogheda on Tuesday, they hammered Sligo Rovers 3-0 on Friday and have now scored 35 goals this season, 8 more than anybody else.  Stephen O'Donnell's injury is long forgotten as Richie Towell and Daryl Horgan continue to enhance their reputations.   The defeat leaves Sligo Rovers 11 points behind Dundalk. They won't concede it's over yet but they'll need favours and slip-ups from 4 other clubs if they're to regain the league title.

2) Pats defensive problems are real

For the third game in 4, Pats conceded twice. They've already conceded more goals than they did before clinching the league last season. Both goals were down to errors too with Limerick defending well and taking advantage of the mistakes. Limerick move out of the bottom 2 into 9th while Pats stay in 4th. They're now 6 points behind Dundalk. They play in 2 weeks time and they can't afford to lose there.

3) Bohs are starting to become a bit of a bogey side for Shamrock Rovers

Luke Byrne and Shane Robinson weren't given an inch by Bohs - David Maher / SPORTSFILE

For the third consecutive game, Shamrock Rovers have failed to beat Bohemians in Tallaght.  They've only beaten Bohs twice in the last 9 league games between the sides. All this while Bohs have been struggling near the bottom of the league.  It's a huge cliché to talk about "form going out the window" for derby game but there's no doubting that Owen Heary can raise his team for games against their biggest rivals.  Rovers remain third and Bohs slip to third bottom, but there's no doubting which fans were happiest with the scoreless draw on Friday night.

4) Cork City are back on track

Young 'keeper Stephen McGuinness has been very impressive for Bray but couldn't keep Cork at bay on Friday - Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

After 2 defeats, Cork City have bounced back with 3 straight wins.  Billy Dennehy scored again (before being sent off) as they moved into a clear 2nd place in the league, only 2 points off the top.  Cork play Athlone at home next week and they'll expect a win there to keep pressure on leaders Dundalk. Bray missed the chance to move closer to the top 5 and have only scored once in their last 4. While defensively they look sound, the lack of goals and discipline (2 sent off on Friday) will be a concern

5) Athlone get their first Premier Division win since 1996

It's taken 14 games but Athlone Town have finally recorded their first Premier Division win since April 1996.  We mentioned in our preview that it was this week or never and there must be huge relief from Keith Long and his team.  The only way is up but if the 2-0 win sparks a bit of confidence, the rest of league isn't that far away.  Defeated UCD are now 2nd bottom.  Their main concern mightn't be Athlone but the teams just above them, Bohs and Limerick, who picked up unexpected points this weekend.

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