The State Of The League of Ireland: Week 5

The State Of The League of Ireland: Week 5
By John Dodge

Dundalk still lead but had their first minor blip. Cork City and Shamrock Rovers breathing down their necks now. Bohemians continue to surprise in the top 4. Here's the state of the League of Ireland in Week 5.

The Big Story

Sligo Rovers are bottom of the Premier Division. Since last winning the First Division in 2005 they've placed 5th, 6th, 4th, 6th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st, 3rd and 5th. They've won at least one trophy each year since 2010 with 3 FAI Cups, 1 League Cup and 1 Setanta Cup added to that 2012 league title. Since 2009 they've reached 9 of 12 semi finals in FAI and League Cups. That's a long winded way of saying they've been Ireland's most consistently successful club of the past 5/6 years.

This season is Owen Heary's first in charge of the Bit O'Red and it hasn't gone exactly to plan. They've lost 4 and drawn 2 of their opening 6 games and no result more disappointing than Friday's 3-1 defeat at home to Bray Wanderers (who hadn't scored a goal before then). After the game Heary ripped into his players. You can listen here:

 

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Last night they compounded the doom by losing to Derry City at home in the EA Sports Cup 2nd round. Sligo's abysmal defending was highlighted by Soccer Republic's Alan Cawley last night and the Sligo native had plenty of examples to choose from. We've no idea if the problem lies with new manager Owen Heary or with the players that line up each week but we do know it needs to be addressed pretty quickly.

The Team Of The Week

Bray started the season with 5 straight league defeats without scoring (a league record). They also lost 4-2 to the LSL's Crumlin United in the League Cup. Last week manager Alan Mathews resigned with a scathing attack on the club's hierarchy. There was plenty of online speculation about Bray's chances of surviving the season. They're not out of the woods yet but a 3-1 win away to Sligo Rovers is a great start for interim boss Maciej Tarnogrodzki. Can they keep that momentum going at home to fellow strugglers Limerick this Saturday?

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The GIF of the Week

We head to the EA Sports Cup for our GIF of the week as Cockhill Celtic's James Bradley gave us his best Greg Bolger impression with this great strike to open the scoring against Galway United yesterday. Galway went on to win 4-2.

The Sportsfile Picture of the Week

Derek Pender, Bohemians, celebrates at the final whistle. SSE Airtricity League Premier Division, Drogheda United v Bohemians. United Park, Drogheda, Co. Louth. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

Your Greatest League In The World™ Pic of the Week

We've no idea if Limerick counted these lads in their official crowd figures. They should. Pic; Diarmiud Greene/SPORTSFILE

Your Greatest League In The World™ Club Tweet(s) of the Week

We've already posted the real tweet of the week, but we want to share another Bohs tweet as well.

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To be fair to Bohs, plenty of fans and media outlets on Friday ran with Derek Prendergast receiving his "second" yellow card as a result of mistaken identity. Prendergast did all he could to blame team mate Lorcan Fitzgerald but TV clearly showed the ref was spot on and Prendergast deserved to go. Refs don't often get praise here and elsewhere so this one is for them.

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Your Greatest League In The World™ Player Tweet of the Week

This section has received a one week ban in connection with the one game ban received by Galway United's Sam Oji for the tweets we mentioned in week three. We're fairly sure this is the first time the League has sanctioned a player for a tweet, and it's a very ominous development. Hopefully players will continue to tell us how they feel on twitter. It absolutely adds to the league in a positive way.

Stat of the Week

Finn Harps are top of the First Division. Their captain Kevin McHugh has scored twice in the last 2 games including a crucial equaliser on Friday night away to UCD to preserve Harps' unbeaten record. Those goals bring the Letterkenny man's total to 166. 130 of them have been scored in the First Division. That, as you can imagine, is a record tally.

Next Week

Leaders Dundalk are at home for the Louth Derby with Drogheda who'll be looking to right things after two successive defeats. Second placed Cork City travel to Inchicore to take on St Pats in what should be a cracking game. Pats haven't clicked yet this season but they continue to score goals. They'll need to be strong at the back against Cork on Friday. Shamrock Rovers travel to Derry looking to keep the pressure on Dundalk while Bohs host Longford looking to stay in touch.  The first Connaught derby game of the season takes place in Galway with Sligo desperate for their first win. The only game in the Premier Divisin on Saturday sees Bray host Limerick with both sides buoyed by their latest results. The remaining 4 EA Sports Cup 2nd round ties happen tonight too.

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ICYMI from the SSE Airtricity League this week;

We've touched on some of them today but do check out all the latest LOI posts here.

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