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7 Things We Learned From The First Weekend Of The League Of Ireland

7 Things We Learned From The First Weekend Of The League Of Ireland
By John Dodge Updated

Each week we'll review the weekend's action and bring you all the important news and events you'll need to follow the #GreatestLeagueInTheWorld. With that pompous intro out of the way, here's what we learned from week one in the League of Ireland.

1. Mother Nature hates the League of Ireland

Like the vast majority of the Establishment, Mother Natures hates the LOI. How else can you explain a mild winter exploding on the opening weekend with multiple storms causing games in Sligo, Donegal and Longford to be postponed?

2. Damien Duff is still box office

18 February 2022; Shelbourne manager Damien Duff speaking to Gavin White of Shelbourne after the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match between Shelbourne and St Patrick's Athletic at Tolka Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

It may not be news but it was still striking how many headlines on Friday evening and Saturday morning included Duff's name.  It's likely going to be a running theme all season.

Next weekend sees Damien Duff's Shelbourne (as they're officially called these days) take on Drogheda and UCD and they'll hope to pick up Damien Duff's Shelbourne's first goal, first point and maybe even a first win for Damien Duff's Shelbourne.

This weekend showed they're quite a bit away from the clubs who expect to challenge despite some huffing and puffing.

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3. Darragh Burns is some talent

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Darragh Burns was one of three teenagers to start for St Pats in their 3-0 win over Damien Duff's Shelbourne on Friday night (another three were on the bench).

James Abankwah is off to Serie A and Udinese, Jack Scott is on the books of English Premier League side Wolves and Burns scored the first contender for goal of the season.

Burns has attracted the attention of clubs in the UK but none have made an offer that Pats could accept yet.

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4. Back to business for Rovers

18 February 2022; Sean Hoare of Shamrock Rovers, right, celebrates with teammates after scoring their side's first goal during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match between Shamrock Rovers and UCD at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Shamrock Rovers weren't great in the President's Cup last week and most accounts suggest they took a while to get going against UCD on Friday but a 3-0 should calm any nerves that were emerging.

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The Rovers bench on Friday featured players like Graham Burke, Ronan Finn, Sean Gannon, Chris McCann and Richie Towell. They'll all have a huge part to play in the season as it progresses. The only blemish on the night was another injury to the unfortunate Neil Farrugia.

Next Friday sees their first big challenge of the season in Derry.

5. Derry City are going to be exciting to watch

They scored twice in Dundalk and could have had more with Jamie McGonigle looking like he'll live up to pre-season top-scorer hype.

What might make them really exciting to watch though could be their defence keeping other teams in the game. Dundalk's first was well taken by Bradley but he had plenty of space and their second was a corner not dealt with by Derry.

The (former?) Candystripes had Patrick McEleney on the bench and Matty Smith wasn't even in the squad so there's more to come from them attacking wise too.

6. Dundalk are going to be fine

We tried to suggest it last week in our season preview but Dundalk will be in European contention this year. Stephen O'Donnell's side have a strong core and they'll only improve as they get to know each other over the next few months.

They've a big test away to Bohemians on Friday night but if they win that, and win against Harps next Monday, they'll be well on their way.

7. The First Division strugglers are going to struggle

For each of the last four seasons the bottom four sides in the whole league (excluding reserve teams ) have been Wexford, Athlone Town, Cobh Ramblers and Cabinteely in some order.

Wexford lost 5-1 at home to Treaty, Athlone lost 5-2 at home to Waterford and a Cabinteely-infused Bray Wanderers lost 6-0 at home to Cork City. Cobh might have been spared by the weather.

Still, enjoy Dylan McGlade's hat-trick clinching goal for a Cork City side who now sit in pole position for promotion.

Let's hope week two sees more football played.

See Also: Inspirational Chloe Mustaki Overcame Injuries And Cancer To Make Ireland Debut

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