Week 13. Unlucky for some. Lucky for others. Standard enough for most. To summarise, never let a good dad joke be derailed by facts. Here's what you need to know from the past week in the League of Ireland.
Stephen Bradley throws a wrench into the Shamrock Rovers machine
The Shamrock Rovers boss has confirmed to RTÉ Sport he is set to open discussions with Lincoln City.
He must now decide whether to take up the position in England or remain with the Hoops as they seek a third league crown on the bounce. https://t.co/ovWvtK9UO8 #rtesoccer
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) May 3, 2022
The back-to-back champions ended their winning run on Friday with Sligo Rovers battling back for a well earned point. Shamrock Rovers are now three points behind Derry but have three home games to come with the third of those seeing Derry City visit for what will be the game of the year so far.
The biggest story of the week came out on Bank Holiday Monday with Mark McCadden of the Star reporting that Lincoln City had approached Rovers to speak to Stephen Bradley about their managerial vacancy. On Tuesday Bradley confirmed he was to speak with Lincoln.
There are some LOI fans who give very little credit for Rovers' recent successes to Bradley, arguing that his big budget team should win most trophies anyway. This column disagrees. When Bradley started his managerial career with Rovers, reluctantly it should be remembered, he definitely made mistakes and he was under pressure almost immediately. He's learned from those mistakes though and he's managed to assemble a squad of players who work extremely hard when they don't have the ball and allow their talented midfielders to create.
He's still a young manager but has experienced a lot already but managing in League One in England is a different challenge altogether. Some ex-LOI managers have gone on to successful careers in England and on the international stage, but if Bradley is to join them, he'll be blazing a trial for Irish managers working in the LOI. Rovers, of course, have a stable support network in place now but there's no doubt there'll be some bumps in the league challenge if they have to bring a new man in. Interesting times.
Derry looked frighteningly good
Wow, wonderful strike 😱
Cameron Dummigan gets on the scoresheet now with a brilliantly struck effort from outside the box 👏@stpatsfc 0-4 @derrycityfc
Sign up 📺 | https://t.co/7rzXOfm8p9#LOI | #LOITV pic.twitter.com/EEAO033Uef
— SSE Airtricity League (@SSEAirtricityLg) April 29, 2022
It wasn't that long ago when some eejits were talking about a potential title race among four teams. Luckily that particular eejit mentioned Pats were most vulnerable.
Pats were more than vulnerable on Friday night - they were abysmal. Some of that was down to their own inadequacies, some was down to trying out three at the back for the first time this season but most of it was down to Derry City being stronger, fitter and technically better than them. By miles and miles.
The 4-0 scoreline flatters Pats as Derry could and should have scored more. Brandon Kavanagh and Patrick McEleney opened them up at will while Mattie Smith and Jamie McGonigle looked to be operating at a different speed to a defence who started the day with the league's best record. Derry have a double header at home to Bohs and Pats next weekend.
Harps drag Shels back into trouble
Is that the winner?! 😱
Barry McNamee with a great finish from outside the box with just minutes remaining 👏@FinnHarpsFC 1-0 @shelsfc
Sign up 📺 | https://t.co/7rzXOfm8p9#LOI | #LOITV pic.twitter.com/Uyx08CecnM
— SSE Airtricity League (@SSEAirtricityLg) April 29, 2022
UCD are down. We're pretty confident saying that. There are a few clubs who think they can avoid the playoff spot now. Barry McNamee's winner for Harps on Friday condemned Damien Duff's Shelbourne to their fourth defeat in five games. That the other game is a win in the Brandywell gets more shocking as the weeks pass but anyway...
The three clubs fighting it out to avoid that ninth place now stand as Drogheda United (13 points), Shelbourne (12 points) and Finn Harps (10 points). In a fortnight, Harps host UCD and Shels host Drogs. That should be some weekend in the relegation scrap.
Cork and Galway truck on in the First
𝗪𝗔𝗟𝗦𝗛𝗬... 𝟮-𝟬 𝗗𝗢𝗪𝗡 𝗧𝗢 𝟯-𝟮 𝗨𝗣 𝗜𝗡 𝟭𝟱 𝗠𝗜𝗡𝗦 🤯 (𝟯/𝟯)
You just had to be there... 😍🔥
𝗡𝗘𝗫𝗧 𝗨𝗣 👇
🆚: Longford Town ⌚: Monday 2nd May, 5PM
🏟️: Eamonn Deacy Park, Galway City
🎟️: https://t.co/Z3HqdjsNPO#ItsATribalThing pic.twitter.com/RxKNpwbaBi
— Gaillimh Aontaithe (@GalwayUnitedFC) April 29, 2022
Cork City and Galway United both beat Treaty United and Longford Town this weekend but it looks like Cork had the easier time of it, winning both games at home by a combined 5-0. Galway started the weekend down 2-0 to Treaty in Limerick but stormed back to win it late. They backed that up by beating Longford on Monday.
It leaves the top two nine points ahead of the pack with automatic promotion between the sides. Treaty, Longford and Waterford are unlikely to trouble whoever misses out in the playoffs too.
Shels back on top in the Women's League
GOAL ⚽️ |
Shelbourne 5-0 Treaty United
Gloria Douglas heads in her second of the game to put Noel King’s side 5-0 up!
Watch for FREE on https://t.co/sUht8CZ1IG💻#WNL | #LOITV pic.twitter.com/rSTsUswTXi
— Women's National League (@LoiWomen) April 30, 2022
After a wobble last week, Shels came roaring back to beat Wexford Youths (away) and the hapless Treaty United to get back on track. Peamount dropped their first (on-field) points of the season with a stuttering 1-1 draw at home to Bohemians and now trail Shels by two points. After threatening to get into the title race Wexford Youths followed their defeat to Shels with a disappointing draw away to Galway.
The Women's National League is in a weird spot at the moment. New clubs like Sligo Rovers have impressed while the established Cork City side have regressed. At the bottom, Treaty are (literally speaking) pointless and have a goal difference of -26 after only eight games. Their next five games are against the sides immediately above them. Let's hope they can get a result somewhere!
Europe is sneaking up
Due to the ongoing suspension of Russian clubs from UEFA competitions, the 2022-23 UEFA access list has been updated. As 🇮🇪cup winners, we will now enter the 2022-23 UEFA Europa Conference League in the 2nd qualifying round. Details TBC* https://t.co/U7zs68ZnIJ
— St Patrick's Athletic FC (@stpatsfc) May 2, 2022
Next Monday see the four European qualifiers play each other in games that were originally scheduled for early July. It's one of the first indicators that we're nearly at that time of the year. The draws are in six weeks' time.
Good news for Pats this week with the expulsion of Russian clubs allowing them to enter the Conference League in the second qualifying round. They'll now earn a minimum of €450,000 from Europe. Clubs receive €100,000 for each round played with a "bonus" based on which round of the Europa Conference League they exit at. #
For QR1 it's €150,000, for QR2 it's €350,000, for QR3 it's €550,000 and for the play off it's €750,000. So a win for Pats would earn them an extra €300,000. If any club reaches the group stages, we're into the millions. That's a tough task for the three clubs who'll directly enter the ECL as all three will be unseeded. Derry and Sligo Rovers would need to win four games.
It's slightly easy for Shamrock Rovers who can "drop" down into the ECL if they don't qualify for the Champions League. Their campaign will be helped if they're seeded in the first round and while they're borderline, they're currently in a seeded spot. Wonder who'll be in charge of them for their European games? It's the one black mark against Bradley so far.