The League of Ireland Week In Football – Week 9
4 May 2012
If you were placing X’s in your pools coupon last weekend you were off to a decent start.
There were opportunities aplenty for the sides at the top of the table to put down a marker as Sligo Rovers faced St Pat’s, Shamrock Rovers took on Derry City and Drogheda United travelled to face UCD, but remarkably each fixture ended in a draw.
At The Showgrounds, it was Sligo Rovers 1 – 1 St Patrick’s Athletic, with St Pat’s missing a late penalty and the opportunity to end the undefeated run of table toppers Sligo Rovers.
Form side Drogheda United travelled to a struggling UCD with expectations of an away win but in the end also had to settle for a 1-1 draw.
Likewise in Tallaght, Shamrock Rovers drew 1-1 with Derry City, Rovers having all the chances to win the game but failing to convert, a missed penalty included.
Elsewhere there were victories but just as few goals.
Cork City claimed their second win in three games, having previously not won a game all season, by beating Shelbourne 2-1 with two goals from Vinny Sullivan who doubled his tally for the season.
Following an excellent victory last week, Dundalk returned to losing ways as Bohemians beat them 2-1 to extend their own good form. Bohemians have now taken nine points from their last four games, where they had taken only one point from their previous five fixtures.
At the foot of the table, again only one goal separated the sides. Bray Wanderers beating Monaghan United 1-0 to move three points clear of their rivals and claim their first clean sheet of the season.
Money, Money, Money
Last week this column questioned the ability of Dundalk to cover a reported wage bill of 7k per week. This week provided more info on League of Ireland wage budgets then we were ever expecting to be made public. Dundalk FC manager, Sean Caffrey:
“We have a wage bill of 6k a week at a squeeze. You compare that with Shamrock Rovers who have 30k, Sligo Rovers over 20k, Derry City 18k, St Patrick’s Athletic have 22k, there’s no comparison”
The question is, are League of Ireland sides really paying these wage levels or are Sean Caffrey’s math skills on par with the management skills he has displayed thus far this season? Can any League of Ireland side really be paying over €1mil a year on player wages? More likely, Caffrey is trying to cover his own inadequacies.
TBC– Past LOI players ready for Euro 2012
Giovanni Trapattoni will confirm his Ireland squad for Euro 2012 on Monday and League of Ireland fans will be particularly interested in the makeup of the squad as it could contain several ex-LOI players.
Certainties should include:
David Forde - Forde made over 100 League of Ireland appearance in his days with Galway United and Derry City. He is now first choice goalkeeper for Milwall
Stephen Ward – the former Bohemians striker is now first choice left back for Ireland and Wolves. He is a certainty for the Poland-bound plane.
Keith Fahey – The ex St Pat’s and Drogheda United midfielder is currently involved in the Championship playoffs with his club Birmingham. Now with caps to his name Fahey should be confident of selection and may even be a first choice sub in the campaign.
Kevin Doyle – Doyle will be forever remembered in the LOI not just for his talent but also for the fact that Reading paid Cork City just £70,000 for his services in 2005, before he was sold on to Wolves for £6.5 million in 2009.
Shane Long – Long also moved to Reading as part of the Doyle transfer, with Cork City receiving a pittance for the young forward. Reading then sold him for approx £5 million to his current club West Brom.
Waiting on tenterhooks will be:
James McClean – A year ago McClean was lining out for hometown side Derry City, since then he has taken the Premier League by storm and has just been voted Sunderland Young Player of the Year. As much as Trapp tries to ignore his claims for a squad place, McClean has been so impressive that he surely has to go. Surely?
Seamus Coleman – The former Sligo Rovers player made a stellar rise from The Showgrounds to Goodison Park in a remarkably short period of time. Having been nominated for the 2011 PFA Young Player of the Year, Coleman has had a less successful second season in the Everton first team but has been an Ireland squad regular. There is every chance Coleman will be the player to miss out in order to accommodate McClean.
First Division Round-up
Tom Elmes scored again for Wexford Youths as they recovered from last week’s heavy defeat to neighbours Waterford United by beating SD Galway 2-0 at Ferrycarrig Park.
Mervue United also had a good home win, their first of the season in fact, against Finn Harps. It was an impressive performance by Mervue who ran out 3-0 winners, while it was Harps’ second defeat on the bounce.
Longford Town stretched their lead at the top of the table to four points by beating Athlone Town 2-1 in the Midlands Derby.
Fellow title challengers Limerick suffered a single goal defeat at home to Waterford United 1-0. Limerick have now won six games and drawn three, they are yet to share the spoils of a draw this season.
Yes, women’s football, don’t be such a sceptic.
The Women’s National League drew to a close last week as Peamount United wrapped up the inaugural Bus Éireann WNL the league title with a 1-0 victory over bottom side Shamrock Rovers.
The two sides now face each other again this Sunday in the League Cup Final. Peamount will be massive favourites to make it a league and cup double while Rovers will be hoping to cause an upset with the final being played in their home ground, Tallaght Stadium.
This weekend’s fixtures:
Friday 4th May 2012
Bray Wanderers v Bohemians
Shelbourne v Monaghan United
Shamrock Rovers v U.C.D
Drogheda United v Sligo Rovers
Derry City v St. Patrick’s Athletic
Cork City v Dundalk
Friday 4th May 2012
Limerick FC v Mervue United
Finn Harps v Athlone Town
SD Galway v Waterford United
Saturday 5th May 2012
Longford Town v Wexford Youths