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5 Things To Look Out For In Week One Of The 2013 Airtricity League Season

By John Dodge
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You have, of course, read the Balls.ie LOI season preview. So what does week one have in store for you?

The 5 Biggest Storylines

1) The Champions Sligo Rovers travel to FAI Cup holders Derry City in the game of the weekend (footballing wise).

Sligo hit the ground running last year with 8 wins and 3 draws in the first series of games. They were 6 points ahead of the second place, and they finished the season only 4 points ahead.  Derry had a staggering 8 defeats at home last season (in 15 games). They can't afford to lose that many again.

2) The Thomond Park League of Ireland era begins.
[youtube [Watch Video]]

The game is being played on Sunday evening (5.15pm) for live TV coverage on RTÉ 2. It's been 19 years since the last time Limerick played in the Premier League.  With Munster rivals Cork City visiting, this is a big test for those who declare lack of facilities the major problem in the league.

3) Stephen Kenny v Shamrock Rovers


The season preview (linked above) should help explain why Stephen Kenny will want his Dundalk side to win this game ahead of all others. I'm sure Shamrock Rovers fans will have no problem in reminding him about last year's failings. Traditionally the 2 biggest clubs in the country, this game hasn't been a rivalry in a while. Tonight could rekindle that.

4) Can Pats score against Drogheda?

Such is the quality of the opening weekend that a game between the teams who finished 2nd and 3rd last year barely gets a mention in the build up. The sides played 5 times last year in league and cup and Pats' only goal was in the 90th minute of the cup replay.  Even that was  a bit fortunate;


[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVXYPY1JE8M]

In the only league game in Richmond Park last season Drogheda won 2-0. The other 3 games between the sides finished scoreless. If Pats are to win something this year, they'll need to score more.

5) Which relegation candidate will struggle immediately?


Most pundits are predicting a bottom 4 at season's end of Bohemians, UCD, Bray Wanderers and Shelbourne. We're not talking about the six-pointer cliché here but a bad loss for any these sides will have their fans worried.  A big win could be the catalyst for the type of season Drogheda had last year.

Whatever happens, enjoy the games.

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