Football

League Of Ireland Betting Preview: Cork To Go Down?

League Of Ireland Betting Preview: Cork To Go Down?

The League of Ireland returns this weekend and we at Balls.ie can barely contain our excitement for the renewed hostilities and rivalries that accompany the Greatest League in the World.

To celebrate the new season, resident League of Ireland expert Sean Meehan previewed the upcoming season on The Buildup Pod with Ladbrokes and gave some of his tips for the year ahead.

At the top of the table, Sean is predicting a two-horse race between last year's FAI Cup finalists Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers, although he sees little value in backing either of them to top the table.

"It's the top two and everybody else.

"I think the only team that can touch them [Dundalk] this season is Shamrock Rovers. The only team that can come close. People were saying that when Rovers ran into a 13-point lead last season, even though Dundalk had games in hand, that it was over. Certain commentators were saying that it was over, which was blatantly false - Dundalk won the league at a canter last season.

"Rovers have gotten over the hump because they won that FAI Cup and they haven't won it for 32 years. They have that silverware. They know what it tastes like and now they want to go and win the league.

"I think Dundalk have to be placed on a pedestal of being the best, because they are the best. They've won five of the last six leagues. Just mad numbers. They've been the best. They've been there. They've done it.

"If you look at Rovers' odds; they're 6/5 to win the league. That's mad. There's no value there at all. Dundalk are Evens."

At the other end of the table, Sean is predicting a much more entertaining race to avoid relegation. He predicts a battle between newly promoted Shelbourne, 2017 league champions Cork City and Finn Harps to avoid bottom spot in the 2020 campaign.

Again, he sees no value in backing the obvious choice - Finn Harps - who avoided relegation courtesy of a playoff last season.

He also believes that Shelbourne will be in little danger of dropping straight back down thanks to a slew of new recruits, like Karl Sheppard and Gary Deegan, who bring Premier Division experience.

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"Finn Harps are the ones who people will be worried about, but they know what it's like to be in the Premier. They survived last season through the playoff.

"I think they are rightfully favourites for relegation at 4/7, but I'd be looking at the likes of Cork.

"They had a poor season last season and they've felt that ever since. They lost Kieran Sadlier and they have't had the kind of impetus that they needed. I don't think they'll finish bottom, but I think they'll be closer to the relegation zone than they will be to the European spots.

"If you wanted to have a punt I think Cork would be your best bet."

In the battle for Europe, our in-house expert is predicting a three-way battle between Derry and the two remaining Dublin clubs - Bohemians and St Pats.

He says that the three clubs will have aspirations of breaking into the top two but, realistically will have to settle for vying for a place in the Europa League qualifiers next season.

"Bohs had a great season last year but they're just not at that level. Derry came out of nowhere to get a European spot last year, but again, they're missing their two talismanic players in Junior and David Parkhouse who haven't come back.

"You've got Pats who are way the pace. They were supposed to be a team to challenge for the top two. Obviously now they have a different manager in Stephen O'Donnell. I think they probably will be a bit better and challenge Bohs and Derry for those two European spots but I don't think they're going to touch the top two."

Listen to the entire Buildup Pod below:

 

Shane O'Brien

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