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Greatest LOI Wrap Up In The World: European Successes & The Bohs Exodus Continues

Greatest LOI Wrap Up In The World: European Successes & The Bohs Exodus Continues
John Dodge
By John Dodge
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As we said last week, it can be hard to keep track of who is playing who and when the games are happening. European football takes nearly all the spotlight but this coming week will see big games in both men’s divisions and the Women’s National League.

It’s a very busy, messy time of the year. Let’s get you up to speed in Week 23.

League of Ireland wrap up - Week 23

Shamrock Rovers ease through in Malta

Rovers drew 0-0 against Hibernians and never looked in trouble. They rarely threatened themselves, but no Rovers fan will care and they’ve set up a 2nd round tie against Ludogerets.

They’re funded by a Bulgarian billionaire and their budget is ten times that of Rovers. They’ve won every single Bulgarian league title they’ve competed for – the last 11 – and have reached group stage football in eight of the last nine seasons. It’s a huge challenge for Rovers but with the security of two more bites at a group stage themselves, Rovers will have nothing to lose when they line up in Razgrad next Tuesday.


Jack Byrne returning from injury in Malta is an obvious boost too. The game is live on RTÉ 2 and the RTÉ Player.


Mixed Conference League news

Sligo Rovers did their job in Wales and take a 2-1 lead back for tonight’s second leg. John Russell’s team were better throughout and recovered well after the early setback. Their fans had a great time too.


Boosted by a new contract for Aidan Keena, Rovers will look to win at home to confirm their second-round tie with Motherwell next week. Derry City had a poor night at the Brandywell against Riga with the Latvians winning 2-0. There’s been some talk since that Derry weren’t expected to compete with Riga, but the LOI and the Visrliga are always ranked within a few spots of each other and Riga are currently 3rd in that league.

As seeded clubs go, Riga was a very fair draw for Derry. They have it all to do tonight in Riga.



Dundalk slip up against Drogheda again


Dundalk have only lost three times this season and two of those have come against their county rivals Drogheda United.

Just like in March, Dean Williams scored the only goal in Head in the Game Park to secure all three points for United. It ended an 11 game run for Dundalk and was the first goal they’ve conceded in six games.

They travel to Inchicore on Friday looking to make up ground on Rovers, but more importantly create a bigger gap to those below them. They haven’t been active in the transfer market yet, and whether they do so amy depend on whether they can tie down defensive rock Mark Connolly whose loan spell ends soon.



A massive game in the First Division awaits

It's very rare that it can be argued that the biggest game of the week is in the second tier but it’s leading the conversation this week.

Cork City have looked stronger than Galway United for most of the season and go into Friday’s game between the top two in Turners Cross a point ahead of John Caulfield’s side. Caulfield, of course, had a hugely successful career as a player and a manager on Leeside but his exit from the club was pretty acrimonious so the early win but Galway in Cork must have been pretty sweet for him.

A win tomorrow would see United top the table again, albeit with City having a game in hand. A huge crowd is expected in Cork.


So many changes for Bohs

In Bohemians’ win over UCD last Thursday, they started only five players who were in the side for the corresponding game in March. Some players are injured, others lost form and their loan players have all returned to their parent club.

The most starting XI against UCD included only one of their recent signings (Josh Kerr) while John O’Sullivan, Ryan Burke and Declan McDaid all came off the bench. One of the five who played in both UCD games was Dawson Devoy and this week he followed Darragh Burns to MK Dons.

Bohemians under Keith Long found a niche where they could offer very talented young players significant game time and it’s been mutually beneficial for club and players.  The last three winners of the PFAI Young Player of the Year were with Bohemians and all three are now in England (Danny Mandroui, Danny Grant, Dawson Devoy).

They travel to Drogheda on Friday looking for consecutive wins for the first time this season. It's hard to get consistency when you can't name the same team each week.

The Europa Conference League sides, Sligo Rovers and Derry City, are back in action on Sunday against UCD and Finn Harps respectively. On Saturday the Women’s National League returns with the pick of the games being Peamount United v Shelbourne at 4pm. Peamount are off the back of a frankly obscene 16-0 win over Finglas United in the FAI Cup last weekend. All bar one of the Cup games was decided by 5 or more goals.

SEE ALSO: Troy Parrott's Career Arc Under Conte Becomes Clearer

Troy Parrott


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