1. Could the results in all five games be the same as when the sides last met?
WE ARE ONTO the second lap of the season since last Monday’s bank holiday fixtures already.
And it looks highly possible that the same five teams who won when the same set of games popped up in March could triumph again this evening.
The bookmakers certainly think it could happen too, with four out of the five teams money-on, while the other side, Bray Wanderers, are 8/5 to beat St Patrick’s Athletic at home.
Nonetheless, the tag that the LoI has of being one of the most unpredictable in the world has been quite evident in the past fortnight with several peculiar results, so anybody who puts more than a few quid on a five-team accumulator like that has either too much money or a shortage of sense.
2. Do Derry have a discipline problem or was last Monday a freak?
Derry City go into tonight’s home game against UCD with three players suspended after Monday night’s 3-0 defeat away to Sligo saw the Candystripes finish with just eight men on the field.
But Stephen Kenny’s charges haven’t seen red on any other occasion, and with Richie Winter, who has yet to send off a player this season, in charge at the Brandywell, it doesn’t look like an epidemic is about to begin.
They will miss Eddie McCallion, Emmet Friars and team captain Kevin Deery, however, against the Students.
3. Are milestones a good thing for Bray Wanderers?
Bray play their 800th game in the league tonight, but haven’t kept a clean-sheet against St Patrick’s Athletic for the last 16 meetings in all competitions. In fact Bray have only beaten the Inchicore side eight times in 39 league games, with Pat’s winning 24 times.
The Seagulls did take the points at Richmond Park in March though, and after an impressive opening to the campaign it would be no surprise if they narrow the head-to-head gap a small bit more, while also keeping up with Shamrock Rovers.
4 Can Sligo stop Shamrock Rovers’ hex over them?
This is already the fourth meeting between the sides since mid-March, and the Hoops have taken the honours on every occasion so far.
Michael O’Neill’s team won in The Showgrounds in the second league game of the season thanks to a goal from Gary McCabe, while the Dubliners also beat the Bit O’Red in a two-legged Setanta Cup semi-final 4-1 on aggregate.
Paul Cook’s team will be happy that they got their first league win in four against Derry last Monday though, and should travel eastwards hoping for a slice of fortune to close the four point gap on the current leaders.
5. Will Bohemians’ teenagers get another tough examination?
While the Leaving Cert is fast approaching and College exams are in full-swing, it was 18-year-old secondary school student Christopher Forrester who came up trumps for Bohemians on Monday as his 94th-minute equaliser snatched a point at the death against Bray.
And with several other teenagers making an impression at Dalymount Park so far this season for Pat Fenlon’s men, it looks like they should have enough to overcome the test of lowly Drogheda at Hunky Dorys Park.