A change of leader in the Premier Division this week. Here's what we learned from week 11 of the SSE Airtricity League;
1) Shamrock Rovers are top
Rovers had a nice run of fixtures over the past few weeks and have taken full advantage to go top of the league for the first time under Trevor Croly. They huffed and puffed against Athlone Town but a great second half strike from Eamon Zayed earned those all important 3 points. We predicted a few weeks ago that they'd be top by now and while they may lose that position tomorrow night, Rovers fans are surely happy to have a team at the top end of the league challenging.
2) Pats defensive worries continue.
By the time Pats clinched the league last October they had only conceded 15 goals that season. They've already reached that mark this season. With injuries to Ken Oman and Derek Foran, and usual starter Sean Hoare finishing university exams, right back Ger O'Brien had to play centre half. It was down that side that Pats allowed UCD in to equalise in a game that Pats should have been 3 or 4 up after 20 minutes. Hoare and Browne are developing a partnership at centre half but there's clearly been growing pains.
3) Cork get back to winning ways against Derry
Cork hadn't won in 3 but faced a Derry City side still in a state of flux as Peter Hutton replaced Roddy Collins as manager. Another Billy Dennehy penalty (his 4th of the season) settled Cork and within 2 minutes they were 2-0 up and on their way back up the league. Cork travel to Limerick tomorrow knowing a win will put them ahead of Rovers (and Pats) and may even put them top if Dundalk lose. There was no "new manager bounce" for Peter Hutton who recalled the exiled Shane McEleney only for him to give that penalty away.
4) Dundalk and Sligo win to help the top 5 breakaway
With Dundalk beating Limerick and Sligo comfortably beating Bray Wanderers, it's starting to look like the top 5 will build a gap over the rest. Dundalk were briefly top of the league and can regain top spot tomorrow with a win over local rivals Drogheda United in Oriel Park. Sligo continued their comeback and a win tomorrow in Athlone could see 5 points between them in 5th and Bray in 6th.
5) Drogheda stop their rot and focus switches to Bohs's poor run
Drogheda United had lost 5 straight but Carl Walshe scored with 20 minutes to go on Friday night to give some breathing space to manager Robbie Horgan. It leaves Bohs without a win in 7 games, scoring only 3 times in that run. For both teams their next games are against their biggest rivals. Drogheda travel to Dundalk tomorrow happy to be back winning and knowing that they beat the Lilywhites 4-1 on the opening day. Bohs travel to Tallaght on Friday against the current league leaders and the difference in form couldn't be more striking.
3 back games tomorrow in the league and back for full set of fixtures next week. if anything happens during the week, we'll keep you posted.