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Dublin: 6 °C Wednesday 26 November, 2014

5 things to look out for in the Airtricity League this weekend

It may be international weekend but there is a whole load of domestic football to keep you busy too.

Rafael Cretaro and Lee Lynch celebrate on Tuesday night.
Rafael Cretaro and Lee Lynch celebrate on Tuesday night.
Image: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

1. Can Limerick be first to take points off Sligo?

The league has only just started but already last season’s champions Sligo Rovers have stormed ahead of everyone else and are unquestionably the team to beat.

Since claiming a narrow win over Derry at the Brandywell, the Bit O’Red have swept aside Bray and Dundalk in the past week and hold a commanding four point advantage over Shamrock Rovers and Limerick after three games.

Newly promoted Limerick travel north for this evening’s game and arrive at the Showgrounds on the back of their first win of the season but face a big ask to avoid defeat against Ian Baraclough’s side.

2. Dublin derbies come thick and fast

After a dire affair against Bohemians on Monday, Shamrock Rovers are again on the northside of the Liffey. Shelbourne have endured an awful start to the season and along with UCD are one of two teams without a point – although they have only played two games due to their meeting with St Pat’s being called off.

The Saints themselves host Bohemians at Richmond Park and will be looking to bounce back from a 3-0 defeat to Shamrock Rovers after getting the season off to a good start by overcoming Drogheda. Bohs will be no pushover as they’ve shown in their first three fixtures.

3. It’s a long way to Turner’s Cross…

…especially when you’re making the trip from Derry, which is what Declan Devine and his men are doing on Sunday. Cork have picked up four points from their two games while the Candystripes went down to Sligo then demolished UCD before drawing with Drogheda United.

Cork boss Tommy Dunne: “It’s a big game between two big clubs from either end of the country. Derry have a strong group and have shown that already. They will justifiably be one of the teams that will be earmarked as potential title contenders.”

It promises tp be a good test for two decent sides to see where they’re at.

4. Students yet to get off the mark

Before a ball was kicked, Martin Russell predicted it would be a difficult campaign for UCD after they once again lost several important players during the off-season. It has gone even worse than he expected, however, as the Students sit rock bottom without a single point on the board.

A shambolic performance against Derry was followed by the 3-1 defeat to Limerick and next up is the visit of Dundalk to the Belfield Bowl. Missing five players – Tomas Boyle, Robbie Benson, James Kavanagh, Dean Clarke and Micky Leahy – it doesn’t look like getting any easier against a Lilywhites side who have been impressive since Stephen Kenny took over.

5. Rained off…

Trevor Croly had strong words about the state of the Dalymount surface and heavy rain this week won’t have done ground staff around the country any favours. Whatever about keeping pitches in good shape, there is little clubs can do about the horrendous weather and there’s a decent chance we could be reporting a number of postponements with pitch inspections scheduled around the grounds this morning.

Today

Premier Division

  • St. Patrick’s Athletic v Bohemians (OFF)
  • Sligo Rovers v Limerick, 7.45pm
  • UCD v Dundalk, 7.45pm

First Division

  • Salthill Devon v Wexford Youths 7pm
  • Waterford United v Mervue United, 7pm
  • Finn Harps v Longford Town, 7.45pm
  • Athlone Town v Cobh Ramblers, 7.45pm

Tomorrow

Premier Division

  • Drogheda United v Bray Wanderers, 3pm
  • Cork City v Derry City, 3.30pm
  • Shelbourne v Shamrock Rovers, 3.55pm

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