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5 Things To Look Out For In Week 10 Of The Airtricity League

5 Things To Look Out For In Week 10 Of The Airtricity League
By John Dodge
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A real mixed bag this week with 2 league games moving to Tuesday because of Saturday's Setanta Sports Cup final.  Here's our pick of the storylines to follow.

1) Who will win the Setanta Sports Cup?

Gary O'Neill and Pat Sullivan will vie for the Setanta Sports Cup - Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

The first trophy of the LOI season is handed out tomorrow as Shamrock Rovers play Drogheda United in the Setanta Sports Cup final in Tallaght Stadium (TV: Setanta Ireland, 3pm). Rovers have struggled this season but drawing with Sligo and beating Dundalk last weekend may be the catalyst Trevor Croly is desperately looking for.  They squeaked into the final thanks to an injury time free kick by Billy Dennehy but are favourites to re-claim the trophy they last won in 2011.  Drogheda are the only club to win this competition twice and after beating the top two Airtricity League sides (Sligo Rovers, Derry City) to reach the final, no one can deny they have enough to claim their third cup.  Drogheda won the EA Sports Cup in Tallaght last year and the sides played out a 1-1 draw there earlier this season so the ground holds no fears for them.  After cruelly losing in injury time to Pats on Monday, Mick Cooke is sure to have his team ready too.

2) Can Derry City recover from losing heavily to Sligo Rovers?

Declan Devine can't have been happy in Sligo - Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE

Going into Monday's game with Sligo Rovers, Derry City had been unbeaten in 10 games, including 8 wins, and had just gone to the top of the league on goal difference. While Sligo winning may not have been a shock, the scoreline certainly was as Derry finished the game with ten men and a 3 goal defeat.  Two weeks ago Derry would have approached tonight's game with UCD with little fear. Since then UCD has won 2 of the last 3 and they'll head to Derry knowing they've nothing to lose.  The last time these sides met Derry won 6-0. It;s unlikely to be as easy tonight.

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3) Will Sligo Rovers accommodate Anthony Elding away to Bray?

Elding is sent off away to Shamrock Rovers - Pat Murphy / SPORTSFILE
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The league's top scorer Anthony Elding was sent off last Friday against Shamrock Rovers for an off-the-ball incident with Stephen Rice.  The nature of the sending off (a straight red card) suggests a 3 game ban for the big Englishman but as the disciplinary panel haven't sat yet, he's eligible to play tonight. Rovers clearly didn't miss him on Monday when thrashing Derry.  So will manager Ian Baraclough bring him back into the side for just this game? Bray's huge win over Shels last week kept them off the bottom of the table but they have a poor record at against Sligo.  They've haven't beaten Sligo in the last 14 games (losing 10 of them).  With an easy Sligo win expected, the interest may be with team selection.

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4) Will the extra rest help Pats and Limerick on Tuesday?

St Pats celebrate late controversial winner in Drogheda - Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

With the Setanta Cup final tomorrow the weekend's schedule stretches all the way to Tuesday when St Patrick's Athletic host Shamrock Rovers in a big Dublin derby in Inchicore.  2 away games last weekend ended a run of 8 games in 31 days. With many part-time players having to fit work etc into that schedule the 8 day break they're having should be really help them.  After Limerick's thrilling win in Cork last Monday, they may have taken the opposite view and looked to have a game as quickly as possible to use that momentum.  Both sides will be eagerly watching the Setanta Cup final and hoping for fatigue to set in with their opponents.

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5) Will any of the First Division teams challenge Longford Town?

from airtricityleague.ie

The First Division table basically reads 1) Longford 2-7) six teams 8) Salthill Devon. Only 4 points separate the 6 clubs in the middle of the table. Wexford Youths should beat Salthill Devon and Longford may expect to beat Finn Harps, but a win for any of the rest of the sides may seem emerge as the leading contenders for that 2nd play play-off spot.

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Whatever happens, enjoy the games!

 

 

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