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Dodge's League of Ireland Recap, Week 7: Bohs Are Giddy

Dodge's League of Ireland Recap, Week 7: Bohs Are Giddy
By John Dodge Updated
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Some weekends, like last weekend, had the potential to become season defining for some clubs. The two teams under most pressure got wins though, and for now, they're back in a safe space. This weekend has the potential to define the title race, at least for one of the clubs involved.

League of Ireland recap: Week Seven

The Big Talking Point: Bohs in the title race

There weren't many who predicted Bohemians would be involved in a title race this season and we'll find out if they're for real this Easter weekend. They've won 6 of the opening 7 games this year, with the latest coming from a late Krystian Nowak header in their 1-0 win away to Sligo Rovers on Saturday. Bohs sit on 18 points at the top of the table, 10 points ahead of champions Shamrock Rovers and 3 points ahead of (new) title favourites Derry City. Guess who they play over the 4 day weekend?

Friday night sees the first game of the season between Bohs and Rovers in Dalymount and plenty are calling it the biggest Derby game between the sides in a decade. Despite the 10 point gap between the clubs, Shamrock Rovers start as odds on favourites for the game and that will suit Bohs who will relish being the underdog in this game. Rovers' confidence will surely be back on track after their comprehensive 4-0 win away to Dundalk last week.

Derry City have a better record away from home this year, but must fancy themselves at home to Drogheda United on Friday night. On Monday they host Bohemians in what's likely to be a much tougher tie, regardless of Friday's results. If Bohs manage to get 4 points from the weekend, even their most pessimistic fans will have to accept they're in a title race. If they get none, we might be back to a Derry City vs Shamrock Rovers battle for the league.

The Moment Of The Week

Refereeing discourse is nothing new to football but it gathers momentum every week in Ireland.  Since the advent of LOITV (and predecessors), every incident is recorded, shared widely and the online consensus is that refs are to blame for most teams losing games.  Damien Duff's complaints after Friday's televised defeat to Derry City were picked up by all media outlets and it was hard to find anyone who disagreed with him.


Indeed, it's easy to have sympathy for Duff on this incident as it appears that Paddy Barrett didn't strike his opponent and the yellow card that followed looks to be extremely harsh. The problem for this columnist is that very few mentioned how tough it is for refs when players like McConigle "exaggerate" to get their fellow professionals sent off. Indeed, late on in the game Shelbourne had a couple of players diving to try and win penalties or free kicks.

Dundalk's Robbie Benson was sent off for a very high challenge against Shamrock Rovers on Friday. It looked like a red card to this observer, but Dundalk manager Stephen O'Donnell effectively blamed the decision on them losing 4-0 from a 1-0 down position at the time of the event. Their appeal was dismissed.  This weekend, several refs will be blamed for teams losing. Some fans might have a case. They do make mistakes. Players and managers make mistakes too.


The Happiness Index

Oh man. It might be easier to make an unhapppiness index, but here's the five happiest fan bases across the leagues this week.

  1. Bohemians – They are giddy.
  2. Galway United – They're a little less giddy.
  3. Derry City – They're starting to believe.
  4. Waterford – They're starting to believe they're not finished yet.
  5. Cobh Ramblers – They're flying high and have Sonia O'Sullivan on board again.

Media Spotlight of the Week: Virgin going all out

Virgin Media Two are showing Bohemians v Shamrock Rovers on Good Friday. It's the first LOI game under the Virgin Media brand and it's only available as RTE are showing rugby instead. You wouldn't think Virgin are living off scraps as they have put the full resources of the company behind promoting the game. Everything from nightly mentions on the news bulletins to a weather forecast from Dalymount Park on Thursday. Let's hope it works out for them, and us, as there is no denying they have promoted the game, and by extension the league, incredibly hard this weekend. In a twist from the usual RTE coverage, Virgin have committed to showing the goals from all of Friday's games. Set your recorders if you're going to a game.

Kenny Cunningham’s Eyebrow Raise of the Week

Shelbourne FC appointed Barry Mocke as their CEO during the week. It comes amid rumours that Dublin City Council are close to agreeing the sale of Tolka Park to Shelbourne, and that Shelbourne are in turn closing to agreeing the sale of the club to Acun Ilicali. Ilicali, most known over here for his ownership of Hull City, made his fortune in Turkey. Mocke has spent the last few years in Turkey. Consider our eye brows raised.


Predicting the Game of the Week

There's a lot of games this week. Bohs vs Rovers is the pick of the Friday games but Dundalk vs Sligo Rovers will see some of the leagues most creative players in action. In the First Division, the visit of Waterford to Cobh will test the mettle of both clubs. On Monday, Bohs trip to Derry City is the undoubted top tie. No broadcast TV coverage on Monday but LOITV subscribers might get decent value with games kicking off at 4 different times. Should be fun if anyone can't get to a game, and we should know a lot more about the title race after it all.

SEE ALSO: The Best Uncapped Republic Of Ireland XI Chosen From Current Players

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