The LOI Premier Division reached the quarter pole mark last weekend and we have a clear leader. The First Division leader became clearer without any games being played. The European race, relegation fight and promotion picture all became a little muddier though. Here’s our take away from Week 9.
Derry’s incredible start continues
Never in doubt 🎯pic.twitter.com/ehpekUr02s
— Derry City FC (@derrycityfc) April 9, 2022
7 wins and 2 draws for the Candystripes sees them 6 points ahead of the pack after a quarter of the league season. They beat Harps away (as they usually do) but Derry’s gaze is firmly set on the title now. Their next three games are against three of the bottom four too. They could be out of sight by the end of April but Shamrock Rovers remain bookies favourites after their win over Damien Duff’s Shelbourne.
Sligo and Pats might already be out
🎥 | GOAL!
What a goal by @FAIreland under-21 Colm Whelan to equalise for UCD AFC
And what a pass by Liam Kerrigan!
"𝑹𝒆𝒍𝒂𝒙... 𝒓𝒆𝒍𝒂𝒙... 𝒏𝒐𝒘!"
Sligo Rovers F.C. 1-1 UCD
Watch live | https://t.co/vfkMjbvRwA 📺 pic.twitter.com/2dQDyCogZK
— SSE Airtricity League (@SSEAirtricityLg) April 9, 2022
We talked about a top four forming some weeks ago but Sligo and Pats have stalled. One point from three winnable games from Sligo Rovers including UCD’s first away point of the season on Saturday. Pats had the chances to beat Dundalk on Friday but couldn’t beat Nathan Sheppard to stick it to Stephen O’Donnell. They’re 10 and 9 points behind Derry already with Sligo closer to bottom side UCD. They’ll battle on for Europe of course, but might be looking over their shoulder more than at the top two. Pats have a tough trip to Tallaght on Friday while Rovers travel to Dundalk.
Drogheda aren’t doomed at all
— Drogheda United F.C. (@DroghedaUnited) April 10, 2022
They looked it early on but Drogheda United look to be digging deep for new manager Kevin Doherty. They’re unbeaten now in 4 games with draws against Pats, Finn Harps and Bohs (on Friday) followed their win over Dundalk. The last two courtesy of equalisers in the 85th and 88th minutes. That’s a good sign for a team who’ll still think they’re in a relegation fight.
It’s tough at the bottom of the LOI
— Athlone Town AFC (@AthloneTownAFC) April 10, 2022
Athlone Town parted ways with manager Martin Russell after only one point in his eight games. In the last 6 seasons Athlone have finished last, last, last, 3rd last, 2nd last and 4th last in the entire league. No manager has lasted more than a year. They’re a historic club with a fine facility and for the league’s sake we have to hope they can continue, but it’s tough to run a club with little hope of progression for that long.
Easter weekend is a bumper weekend for the league with both men's divisions playing on Friday and Monday. The Women’s League returns too. We should have a few more questions answered, and probably posed, next week.