The 2014 SSE Airtricity League launch event happened earlier today in the Aviva Stadium with the traditional group photoshoot. Here's what popped out to us;
1) The League loves defenders. 9 of the 12 lads on show are defenders with only Liam Kearney (Cork), Mark Langrty (UCD) and Danny O'Connor (Bray) playing in midfield. 3 of those featured were part of the St Patrick's Athletic title winning defence of last season; Aidan Price (Bohemians), Conor Kenna (Shamrock Rovers) and new Saints captain Ger O'Brien.
2) Danny O'Connor didn't listen to us last year and wore runners. For shame!
3) Cork City's black pudding is gone. Hurrah! The Clonakilty Black Pudding logo still looks odd but at least the pudding is gone
4) Athlone Town went with their away kit. We'd like to think this is some sort of hazing for the Premier Division rookies.
5) Sponsors for Limerick, Dundalk, Athlone and Drogheda United are going to be pissed...
6) The new Umbro footballs are perilously close to looking like 1970s balls. This is a good thing.
The SSE Airtricity League season kicks off next Friday. St Patrick's Athletic play Sligo Rovers this Sunday in the inaugural President's Cup game. We here at balls.ie will be covering the league all season long