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The Greatest LOI Recap In The World: That's Why Shamrock Rovers Are Favourites

The Greatest LOI Recap In The World: That's Why Shamrock Rovers Are Favourites
By John Dodge Updated

When the LOI played a winter season (*shudder*), Easter weekend was often a pivotal one in the league title race. If Shamrock Rovers pip Derry City to the 2022 title, we could be saying the same about this weekend.

Here's some things to note from the bumper week 10 in the SSE Airtricity Leagues.

Oh so that’s why Shamrock Rovers are favourites

Easter weekend saw Derry City’s first wobble of the season with a surprising loss to Damien Duff’s Shelbourne followed up by a draw away in Drogheda. They should get back on track with a home game against UCD next Friday but it’s the first time they’ve had questions to answer. They’ve only one clean sheet in their last six games (against UCD, of course). 

Meanwhile champions Shamrock Rovers had two 1-0 wins over Easter in Tallaght over St Pats and Dundalk. They’re still not firing on all cylinders but two terrific passes (Friday from Danny Mandriou, Monday from Jack Byrne) were enough to unlock the opposition and set up two winners. They go to Dalymount on Friday only a point behind the leaders now.

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Damien Duff must hate Tolka Park by now

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Duff has managed six Shelbourne games in Tolka Park and has a single point to show for it. Their 4-1 defeat to Bohemians on Monday was their third defeat by three goals already at home. You might start to question why Shels fans are fighting so hard to save it

Meanwhile on the road, they’re unbeaten with wins over Drogheda, Sligo Rovers and, last Friday, leaders Derry City. Their next two games are away with trips to Dundalk and Ballybofey. They’re both big tests but Duff has shown he can set up his teams well on the road with most pundits suggesting they’ve been full value for their three away wins.

St Pats stop the slide, just

Since their last win over UCD, Pats have earned two points in four games. They’ve been in all those games, and perhaps should have gone ahead in Tallaght on Friday, but the ease by which Rovers saw the game out will have worried their fans.

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On Monday they huffed and puffed and eventually, barely, blew the UCD house down with a late penalty and even later own goal. The positive will be their heads didn’t drop after conceding to the league’s poorest side but it’s been a while since they played well enough to win a game easily. Finn Harps visit Inchicore on Friday and they’ll have no fear of Tim Clancy’s side.

The Bohs roller coaster continues.

Bohs picked up their third win on Monday by thrashing Damien Duff’s Shelbourne in Tolka. It, once again, relieved some pressure on Keith Long.  Just like their previous win away to Sligo did too. In between they conceded late equalisers to draw with Drogheda and (nine-man) Finn Harps. In six of the eight games Bohs haven’t won this season, they’ve been ahead. They’ve taken the lead in their last six games and only won two of them. 

So how Keith Long is doing will depend on how you interpret those stats versus the fact they’re unbeaten in four and only two points off third place. If they beat Rovers on Friday, he’ll be a hero. Lose and they’ll probably thrash UCD to get back on track anyway…

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Drogheda are very quietly unbeaten in six

Many pundit's tip for relegation in pre-season, Drogheda United have shown they’re no pushovers and are now unbeaten in six. Only Shamrock Rovers have a longer streak.

On Friday, they showed they’re significantly ahead of the bottom side UCD and Monday saw them dig out another point at home to leaders Derry City. Ryan Brennan’s return from injury has clearly helped with the experienced midfielder scoring twice in the last four. They travel to the inconsistent Sligo Rovers on Friday.

Cork City still look the team to beat in the First Division

After a surprising draw at home to Bray Wanderers on Friday, City got back on track with a big win in Waterford on Monday. Following a bright start to the season, Waterford have fallen dramatically with four defeats in their last six games. They’ve been overtaken by Longford Town and Treaty United in the play off race. Galway United were idle this week and remain only three points behind Cork City with a game in hand. Longford too could go level if they win their two games in hand.

Back to business for the women’s league

After the international break, it was back to business for the women’s league this weekend with wins for Sligo Rovers, Wexford Youths, Shelbourne and Peamount United.

Of the title challengers, only Peamount’s win was in jeopardy and they needed a brilliant winner in the 77th minute from Tiegan Ruddy to overcome a spirited Athlone Town team. Sligo Rovers' win saw them climb to fourth in the table in their debut season and leaves Treaty United bottom without a point yet.

Friday night will be an interesting test of the LOI's streaming policy. Bohemians v Shamrock Rovers was played in front of nearly 8,000 in Tallaght Stadium a few weeks ago but Dalymount's capacity is close to a third of that. Tickets have been sold out since they went on sale.

The game isn't on TV, so anybody who wants to watch the game, legally, will have to pay €7 for the stream on LOI TV on Friday. It's likely to set a record for paid streams and if it's really successful, the league might announce the number.

If it's not, because other methods may be available, maybe they'll try and recoup some of the outlay by announcing half-season packages. They had five Premier Division games kick off at different times yesterday which was made for a daily pass. None was offered of course.

Picture credits: Sportsfile

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