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5 Things To Look Out For In Week 11 Of The Airtricity League

5 Things To Look Out For In Week 11 Of The Airtricity League
By John Dodge
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10 games in the Airtricity League this weekend, including the return of live games on RTE2. Here's our pick of the weekend storylines to follow.

1) Can Dundalk join the title race and beat Sligo Rovers?

Dundalk's young midfield anchored by Stephen O'Donnell - Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

Dundalk are currently sitting in 4th position, only 6 points behind leaders Sligo Rovers.  While Rovers have won only 1 of their last 5 games, Dundalk have won 4 of their last 5.  Those 12 points won are more than any other side in the league over the same period,  So why are people so quick to dismiss Dundalk's title claims?  It's probably due to their record against top 6 sides. Dundalk have played 6 games against the top 6 (Shamrock Rovers being the team faced twice), and have earned only 5 points in those games (a shock win over Pats in Richmond Park).  They've already lost at home to Sligo and Derry City too.  The 4 wins in the last 5 games have come against 4 of the bottom 5.  If Dundalk are to get involved with the title race, they'll need to winning games like this against Sligo Rovers.

2) Will sparks fly in the Shamrock Rovers Bohemians Dublin Derby?

Will Bohs be happy with 0-0 again? - David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Rovers and Bohs have certainly had their moments over the years (as can be seen in this excellent RTE Promo for the live TV game that kicks off at 7.05pm tonight).  It's a testament to the rivalry that what is essentially a mid-table game is still seen as a highlight of the weekend.  Bohs come into the game with 1 one win in their last 8 but will be buoyed by the knowledge that they've kept Rovers scoreless in the last 3 derbies (including 2 wins).  Rovers are unbeaten in Tallaght this season picking up 12 of their 17 points at home and have been better recently.  They'll fully expect to win tonight and set off on a run to challenge for the European places.


3) Can Shelbourne's new manager turn their season around, starting tonight against St Patrick's Athletic?

Kevin Doherty before injuries forced him to retire - Damien Eagers / SPORTSFILE *EDI*

Alan Mathews resigned as Shels' manager yesterday as they sat bottom of the table with 1 win, 6 goals and 5 red cards this season. He's replaced by first team coach Kevin Doherty in an "interim" capacity.  He'll have a tough job tonight as they face a Pats side looking for a sixth consecutive away win to maintain pressure on leaders Sligo. Doherty is missing seven first team players through injury or suspension but will be hoping for a performance that will rally Shels fans for the relegation fight ahead.


4) Can Barry McNamee and Derry City stop the rot against Drogheda United?

McNamee beat team mate Ger Doherty and Pats' Greg Bolger to the April POTM award - Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE

While McNamee won the Player of the Month award for April, May hasn't been so kind to Derry City and they travel to Drogheda tonight after back-to-back losses. Not for the first time this season, manager Declan Devine placed some of the blame for these results on refereeing performances, but his side have now conceded 7 goals in 2 games (more than the 6 they conceded in the opening 11 games). They face a Drogheda side that rebounded from their embaressing 7-1 Setanta Cup final defeat with a good win in Limerick on Tuesday.  The sides have already played 3 times this season in the Setanta Cup and League with 2 draws and a Drogheda win so far. Another tight game can be expected.


5) Can UCD beat Limerick and leave the bottom three for the first time this season?

In his 5th season, Russell is the league's longest serving manager - Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE

3 weeks ago, UCD had a single point all season.  Since then they've won 3 of 4 and head into tonight's home game with Limerick full of confidence.  Martin Russell's side are notoriously slow starters and he continued to preach patience to all who would listen. UCD are clearly still in trouble but they've at least given themselves a fighting chance at survival.  A win tonight against an inconsisten Limerick side couple with a Bohs loss to Rovers in Tallaght will see UCD out of the bottom 3.


Whatever happens, enjoy the games


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