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5 Things We Learned From Week 12 Of The Airtricity League

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

Another drama filled weekend in the Airtricty League.  Here's the main take-aways.

1) St Patrick's Athletic are top of the table (even if it's only temporary)

Killian Brennan blasts home the 2nd for Pats on Friday night - David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Sure they've played a game more than Sligo, but Pats 2-0 win over Bohemians on Friday night lifted them to the top of the league for the first time this season.  Pats were 6 points behind Sligo after only 4 games this season and the Inchicore faithful began to wonder if the loss of assistant manager Trevor Croly, as well as James Chambers and Sean O'Connor to Shamrock Rovers, really was the disaster some in the media had claimed.  After recording their 7 consecutive away win, those thoughts have disappeared and they start to dream of a sustained title challenge this season.  That could quickly dashed as thy face a flying UCD team on Tuesday in a game brought forward from July.

2) Sligo Rovers are officially in a bumpy patch

Lee Lynch (right) went off injured on Friday. Sligo will be hoping it isn't serious - Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

One win in 6 for the champions has seen their commanding lead diminish. They're still only 2 points behind Pats with a game in hand so nobody in the Showgrounds will be panicking yet, but it has been well over a year since they were not top/joint-top of the league and manager Ian Baraclough now has the chance to show a different side of his managerial range. Sligo have now scored just once in the last 4 away games but their next 3 games are all at home, where they have scored at least twice in every game.

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3) Shelbourne's new manager John McDonnell has a huge task in keeping them up

McDonnell's only managerial job in the league was with St Pats 2004-2008 - Brian Lawless / SPORTSFILE

 

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Only appointed on Friday afternoon, John McDonnell was on the bench as Shels lost 1-0 to Shamrock Rovers.  As other results went against them, it left Shels on 6 points and 7 points behind second-last Bohs. While the cup may give him time to breathe, Shels next two games are against title-chasing Derry and Bohs.  That Bohs game, which 7/8 years ago would've been a title decider, is now  a huge game in the battle to avoid the drop.

4) Form is temporary, class is permanent

In a hugely eventful game in Bray, Drogheda United's Fabio O'Brien scored twice to move second in the leading goalscorer's table with 10 for the season.  33 next month, Fabio shows no sign of aging as he continues to build his legacy as probably Drogheda's greatest ever player.  He ended up on the losing side on Friday though as Jason Byrne capped a remarkable hat-trick with a 95th minute winner.   He is the second leading all time scorer in the league

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5) Longford took a big step towards the First Division title

At one stage on Friday night, Leaders Longford Town were losing to 3rd placed Mervue United while 2nd placed Finn Harps were 1 up.  Another goal from David O'Sullivan (12 in 12) was quickly followed by a David O'Neill winner for Longford.  Finn Harps, meanwhile, were on the end of  Wexford Youths turnaround and lost 2-1 to now lie 7 points behind Longford. There's still 16 games left to play but with the talent and experience in Tony Cousin's squad, they're unlikely to drop too many points.

Tuesday evening sees Sligo and Pats host Dundalk and UCD respectively, before the league breaks for the FAI Ford Cup next weekend.

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