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The Greatest LOI Wrap Up In The World: Cork Assert Superiority, Bohs Grumbles

The Greatest LOI Wrap Up In The World: Cork Assert Superiority, Bohs Grumbles
By John Dodge
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We're at the halfway stage in the SSE Airtricity League. Roughly anyway. The women are lagging by a couple of games and the four Euro qualifiers have played a game more, but for all intents and purposes, this is the halfway mark.

We're on an international break but when we come back, there are further postponements before the half season loans end, some players leave and others join the Greatest League in the World. It's going to be a very busy month so let's make sure you're all caught up on the past week anyway.

Derry City get away with it, just

This column may have been the first to try and halt the lavish praise heaped on Derry City. Part of that was embarrassment at suggesting they could be running away with the league as they entered the Easter period with a healthy lead and a favourable schedule but regardless of who was right and who was wrong, the great thing about league football is that the results speak for themselves.

Derry had lost three games in a row before hosting local rivals Finn Harps on Friday. The local part of this game makes it a rivalry as Derry customarily swat Harps away with ease, especially in Derry.


On Friday night they needed a 94th minute equaliser from Eoin Toal to secure a point. It still leaves City with only one win at home - against UCD - since St Patrick's weekend and without a win in six games total. They're now nine points behind Shamrock Rovers, and nine points ahead of Shelbourne in third spot. They'll need to get motoring again after the break.

Cork City assert superiority again in the First

The game with most riding on it last weekend wasn't in the Premier Division but in the First where a huge crowd in Galway went home disappointed when United couldn't capitalise on going top of the league and lost to Cork City. In a tight game, Matt Healy's stunning strike gave City the points and returned them to the summit of the division.

Healy was originally on loan from Ipswich until the end of the month, but they've extended that until the end of the season as the midfielder has popped up with some vital goals this season.  Only a point splits the sides, so we expect automatic promotion to go all the way to the last day, with a resurgent Waterford now within striking distance should the top two both falter.


How Long left for Keith?

Tabloid style pun aside, there's definitely more and more Bohs fans questioning their manager than ever before. In their last 36 league games (a full season spread over two), they've won only 11 games.

They have won back-to-back games only twice in the last year, both times home wins over Drogheda followed by home wins over Shamrock Rovers (in June and October last year). There is no side as inconsistent as Keith Long's Bohs side.

On Friday night they took the lead through Jordan Flores before, for the ninth time this season, dropping points from a winning position with Dean Williams equalising late on for a determined Drogs side.


Long's defenders point to him dragging them off the canvas (7th, 10th, 7th finishes in 2012-14) and working off relatively small budgets to bring them to being perennial European challengers. The question is, now that their budget is competitive, can he manage them to success?

Long, and his assistant Trevor Croly, are in the second year of their record-breaking four-year contracts. It's hard to imagine Bohs moving on from Long this season, but the grumbling from Bohs fans is getting louder and louder.

Dundalk pull clear of the mid-tier teams

Dundalk beat St Pats on Friday night in a game of few chances. Stephen O'Donnell prides himself on making his teams solid and they've only conceded more than one goal on one occasion since February - when Andy Boyle was sent off in UCD after 45 minutes.


Striker Pat Hoban might not be as prolific as he was in his prime, but he still knows how to work defenders better than anyone else in the league.

Pats, like Bohs above, can be very up and down. Shels are still growing under Damien Duff and Friday's defeat in Tallaght showed how far they have to go. Sligo drew in UCD showing that the post-Buckley bounce didn't last long.

Dundalk are six points ahead of all of them (one point ahead of Derry now), and they won't have as much disturbance as some of them, as they have no European football this year. They're well on course for qualification for next year though.

Congratulations to Treaty United Women

This is the fifth season for Women's National League football in Limerick. Between Limerick FC and their successor Treaty United, they've lost 70 of the 89 games they've played at senior level.

On Saturday, they earned their first point of the season with a 0-0 draw at home to Sligo Rovers. Survival in the WNL is tough. Survival at the national level in men's football in Limerick has been shown to be extremely tough too.

For Treaty United to continue to provide an outlet for football playing women in their area, throughout all the struggles, is a miracle. We hope they enjoyed their first point on Saturday, and we hope they have a few more by the end of the season too.

They host DLR Waves this weekend with no break for the women. The Waves are the only side to score against Shelbourne so far this year. That defeat may end up being the Reds' only dropped points this season. Cork City, meanwhile, have appointed their former league winning full back Danny Murphy as manager. It's his first managerial role and we wish him well.

We've a host of internationals away with their countries this weekend, mostly at under 21 level.  Expect next week to have a lot of news from them as both men's division are on a break.

See Also: Troy Parrott Got His Mojo Back, But What Does The Future Hold?

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Reserve your spot for this unmissable night in The Camden on the 30th May by clicking here.

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