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Dublin: 10 °C Saturday 22 November, 2014

5 reasons to watch the League of Ireland this weekend

Peter Hutton takes Derry to Turner’s Cross, new leaders St Pat’s are on the road and Limerick host Dundalk.

Peter Hutton takes charge of Derry City for the first time tonight.
Peter Hutton takes charge of Derry City for the first time tonight.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

1. Hutton takes charge of Candystripes

THIS WEEK WITNESSED a second Premier Division manager vacate his job as Roddy Collins parted company with Derry City.

The Dubliner’s rocky six-month spell at the Brandywell came to an end on Sunday when the club announced he was stepping down with his former assistant Peter Hutton taking the reins for the remainder of the season.

Hutton, who holds the record for most appearances for the Candystripes, has managerial experience having spent last year in the hot seat at Finn Harps but faces a difficult first game in charge as Derry travel to Turner’s Cross to take on Cork City.

2. Saints back on top

With Dundalk in Setanta Cup final action last weekend, St Patrick’s Athletic took the opportunity to leapfrog the Lilywhites into top spot thanks to a last-gasp win over Cork City.

Conan Byrne scored in injury time to earn Liam Buckley’s side a 3-2 victory over the Rebels at Richmond Park and the Saints are now seven games unbeaten in the league.

They’re at the Belfield Bowl tonight where a meeting with 10th-placed UCD awaits. The Students played the majority of their last match against the ten men of Bohemians after Robert Lopes’ early sending off but could only manage a 0-0 draw.

3. Limerick set for triple header at home

Days of speculation about the future of Limerick striker Craig Curran ended yesterday when the club issued a brief statement revealing that the English-born player had left by mutual consent.

It remains unclear the exact reason behind Curran’s departure but he has tweeted:

On the pitch, tonight’s fixture against Dundalk is the first of three on the bounce at Thomond Park and Stuart Taylor will be looking to make the most of home advantage in order to climb away from the foot of the table.

4. Hoops return to league action

Having played in front of 45,000 people in a friendly against Liverpool at the Aviva Stadium, Shamrock Rovers return to the slightly more modest surroundings of Tallaght on Saturday afternoon.

That outing will be put firmly to the back of their minds as the Hoops welcome Athlone Town to Dublin 24 knowing a win coupled with Pat’s dropping points would put them top of the table.

Under new manager Keith Long, Athlone picked up their very first point of the campaign on the 11th attempt against Bray a fortnight ago, and the Midlanders will be aiming to add to that with another solid defensive display here.

5. Seagulls face new Setanta Cup champions

Dundalk may have gone into last Saturday’s Setanta Sports Cup final as slight favourites over Sligo Rovers but it was the Bit O’Red who prevailed with Paul O’Conor scoring the only goal of the day.

It is Sligo’s first time to win the All-Ireland competition but now they must focus on getting their league campaign back on track on Saturday evening. Opponents Bray Wanderers travel to the Showgrounds sitting one points ahead of Sligo after their 1-0 win over Limerick.

Tonight (all 7.45pm):

  • Cork City v Derry City 
  • Drogheda United v Bohemians
  • Limerick v Dundalk  
  • UCD v St Patrick’s Athletic 

Saturday:

  • Shamrock Rovers v Athlone Town (7pm)
  • Sligo Rovers v Bray Wanderers (7.45pm) 

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