We're at the mid-way point of the season. Here's the State of the League of Ireland in Week 14.
The Big Story
All Premier Division clubs have either played 16 or 17 games so we have a decent idea of how things will pan out now. Dundalk are deservedly on top of the league and we had to wait until game 15 for them to lose. They have steam-rolled through the lower half of the league and comprehensively beaten everybody but Shamrock Rovers (when they were 2 up before having a man sent off). A glimmer of hope recently with the defeat to Bohs and the struggles of David McMillan. The striker has only scored once in 11 games. Their closest rivals are Cork City with the Leesiders continue to pick up points without too much fuss. The arguments about their brand of football are fairly moot as long as they keep winning.
Shamrock Rovers had been unbeaten until this week but Pat Fenlon's charges never looked like threatening Dundalk's reign at the top. In the last 3 weeks they've been knocked out of the cup by St Pats and lost to arch rivals Bohemians. They're now 7 points off the top having played a game more. Bohs are probably the happiest group of fans around. Tipped to struggle by many pundits, they have beaten Dundalk and Rovers in the last couple of weeks and continue keep pace with the European challengers. St Pats struggled for most of the season but have won their last 4 league and cup games as Christy Fagan's return from injury sparked them into life.
Limerick look set adrift at the bottom being 6 points behind 2nd bottom Bray. Only a point above them Sligo Rovers have probably been the biggest disappointment. Derry City have struggled to score goals, particularly at home, and they aren't safe yet either. Drogheda, Galway and Longford have all blown hot and cold but look to have too much to be any real relegation danger.
We have European football on the way for some and that could effect the league too. Can Bohs sneak past Cork and Rovers while they're away? Whatever happens Dundalk will surely remain odds on to clinch their 2nd successive title.
The Team Of The Week
If Bohemians hadn't been beaten in a re-arranged game last Tuesday by St Pats, they'd have been the team of the week last week. They rebounded in brilliant fashion last Friday, coming back from a goal behind with 3 late goals to beat Shamrock Rovers in Dalymount. With the news of Dublin City Council's move for Dalymount helping them off the field, it really is a season to enjoy for Bohs fans as their young, committed team give their all each week.
The GIF of the Week
The Sportsfile Picture of the Week
Your Greatest League In The World™ Pic of the Week
RIP Hano pic.twitter.com/IsAJfcedcE
— Dermot Cousins (@dermotco) June 12, 2015
Your Greatest League In The World™ Player Tweet of the Week
Going to bed known we beat the scum 3-1 doesn't get much better #thebigclub#bohs ?⚫️
— daniel_byrne (@daniel_byrne2) June 13, 2015
Stat of the Week
No football this week so enjoy the transfer speculation as the window approaches. Monday sees a record 5 LOI teams enter European competition draws. Let's hope UEFA remember John Delaney's loyalty.