The first series of games in the Premier Division is complete. Here's the State of the League of Ireland: Week 9.
The Big Story
Richie Towell's ascent into superstardom continues. The Inchicore man has been the best player in the League of Ireland over the past 2 years and this year he's been even-more impressive. The midfielder has 10 goals in 11 games and he's the driving force behind Dundalk's amazing start to the season. His goal on Sunday showed how Towell's lofty confidence is justified.
He's 24 this July and talk of a move to the UK is inevitable. He's already played 30+ games in the SPL with Celtic and Hibs. Nobody who's watched him over the past 2 (and 1/3) seasons can deny that Towell has developed physically in that time. He's certainly good enough technically so the only question is whether he's mentally strong enough. If he keeps playing to these high levels, we'll get to find out soon.
The Team Of The Week
It really should be Dundalk as they've just won 8-1 and lead the league by 6 points but we gave Galway team of the week for thumping Bray so can't reward that 2 weeks in a row. Instead we'll plump for St Patrick's Athletic who have started to find their scoring boots and followed last week's 3-0 win over Sligo with a very comfortable 4-1 in Galway.
Man of the match was Chris Forrester who's passing from midfield carved Galway open all night. After a poor start the Saints are unbeaten in 6 but have both Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk visiting in the next 3 weeks. If they can win both of them, they're right back in the hunt but it's a very tough task.
The GIF of the Week
Setanta's double header on Sunday gave us two great volleys to savour. Towell's was probably more difficult but our GIF of the week goes to Adam Evans of Bohemians for his brilliant technique with the volley that deservedly earned Bohs a point against Cork City.
The Heartwarming Story Of The Week
On Friday night the family of Mark Farren released, through the PFAI, a statement detailing the latest setback in his fight against cancer. Following Derry City's lead, Irish football quickly mobilised with many clubs tweeting out the link to donate
Please donate whatever you can to get @derrycityfc legend Mark Farren the help he needs: http://t.co/2mPjz3kRFf
— Drogheda United F.C. (@DroghedaUnited) May 2, 2015
Please donate here to help LOI great Mark Farren get the treatment he needs #TeamFarren http://t.co/T5fNyZ97Sk
— St Patrick's Ath (@stpatsfc) May 3, 2015
Former LOI men like Seamus Coleman made very generous donations while bucket collections happened at several grounds. The campaign reached the initial €30,000 target within 72 hours but more is still neeed. If you can donate, please do so at http://gogetfunding.com/project/mark-farrens-treatment-fund
The Sportsfile Picture of the Week
Your Greatest League In The World™ Pic of the Week
Lol pic.twitter.com/u2RNH2TgFa — Colm (@ColmC91) May 4, 2015
Your Greatest League In The World™ Club Tweet of the Week
@JohnMcKeown94 we're quite happy with it :)
— Wexford Youths FC (@WexfordYouthsFC) May 1, 2015
You've probably already seen Cabinteely's tweet but promotion chasing Wexford Youths were also happy with the late John McKeown goal.
Your Greatest League In The World™ Player Tweet of the Week
I reckon I'd even get a game for Bray!! — Danny North (@DannyNorth7) May 4, 2015
Danny North hasn't started for Shamrock Rovers since week 2.
Stat of the Week
Cork City 90 minutes 2 shots 1 on target Says it all.
— John O'Sullivan (@johngosullivan) May 4, 2015
Cork City proving Brian Kerr right with another negative display on their travels. Yet to win against any of the top 5 this season.
The 2nd series starts on Friday and the game of the weekend is in Inchicore where St Pats will be looking to exact revenge for their opening day defeat to 2nd placed Shamrock Rovers. Pats have improved of late and they're now only 2 points behind Rovers but Pat Fenlon's men will be harder to break down than Sligo and Galway.
A defeat for Pats could leave them 9 points behind Dundalk (and in 5th place). Dundalk travel to Longford Town and will be confident of extending their unbeaten start to the season.
Cork City have 2 games at home this weekend against strugglers Sligo Rovers and Drogheda (moved because of European games in July). Anything less than 2 wins would be a shock. That would leave Sligo and Owen Heary with 6 defeats and only one win in 12 games. Bohs host bottom side Limerick and have 3 very winnable games coming up to keep pressure on the leaders.
In the First Division leaders Finn Harps host bottom side Waterford United. Shelbourne host Cabinteely having lost their last 4 games. Another loss for Shels would see them slip behind Cabo; unthinkable a few months ago.