The League of Ireland – The Opening Weekend

The 2020 League of Ireland seasons kicks off tonight with fans hoping the drama stays on the pitch after a winter full of scandal. Dodgy dealings of the FAI were well documented over the last few months but it’s finally the football that will be centre stage again this weekend. 

Last year produced a familiar theme with Dundalk dominance the main talking point for most of the season. Vinny Perth’s men were a penalty shoot- out away from a historic treble only for Shamrock Rovers to claim their first FAI Cup in thirty-two years. It was Rovers who pushed Dundalk at certain stages over the season and it’s expected to be those two teams who will steer clear of the rest of the pack again.

Friday night will see the defending champions host Derry City, a much changed St.Pats take on Waterford in Inchicore, a clash in Cork that has City welcoming back Shelbourne to the top division, a west coast meeting of Finn Harps and Sligo with Saturday serving up the first Dublin derby of the season as Bohs take on Shamrock Rovers in Dalymount.

Dundalk v Derry Friday 7.45PM

After a warm weather training camp in Spain, Oriel Park will be a different setting for Dundalk as they begin their title defence against Declan Devine’s Derry City. Impressive displays against CSKA Moscow and FC Cluj are possibly a sign of how far ahead they may be when it comes to on and off the field matters.  

Some key arrivals in the shape of Greg Sloggett, who takes on his former team, Darragh Leahy from Bohs, and highly rated Serbian midfielder Stefan Colovic have added to a squad already packed full of talent. However, the best bit of business they done in the off season was holding onto star striker Pat Hoban after some talk of unrest at the end of last year.

Derry City haven’t had the same luck as their two top marksmen returned to their parent clubs. David Parkhouse and Junior, who finished as the league’s top scorer in 2019, were key figures as the Candystripes pushed for Europe.

New signing Tim Nielsen will be the man tasked with finding the net this year after the Norwegian striker bagged 28 in 48 for Fredrikstad FK. In midfield, two Conor’s will be battling it out as Clifford and McCormack joined  up from St.Pats and Cork City respectively with the latter making his return to Derry and being named as Captain straight away.

Match prediction: Dundalk 2-0 Derry City

3 May 2019; Jamie McDonagh of Derry City in action against Dean Jarvis of Dundalk during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match between Dundalk and Derry City at Oriel Park in Dundalk, Louth. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

ST. PAT’S v Waterford Friday 7.45pm

An off season of change was on the menu at Richmond Park as Stephen O’ Donnell and a couple of bulldozers cleared the house in Inchicore. The iconic shed end was torn down due to health and safety reasons as O’ Donnell was busy putting his mark on the club for his first full season in charge.

A statement of intent was certainly put out by Pats in the early stages of the transfer market as Robbie Benson joined his former midfield partner turned manager. Martin Rennie joins from Montrose looking to fill goal shaped holes which were sorely missing from St.Pats during large parts of last season. 

Survival will be the aim for Waterford this season especially after losing one of the star performers in the league and Irish u-21 international, Zack Elbouzedi to Lincoln City. A marquee signing in former Bohs keeper Brian Murphy from Cardiff and a more recent Bohs recruit, Scott Alardice will certainly help but a struggle is probably on the cards for the Blues. 

Match prediction: St Pat’s 1- 0 Waterford 

15 March 2019; Shane Duggan of Waterford FC during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match between Waterford and St Patrick’s Athletic at the RSC in Waterford. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Cork City v Shels Friday 7.45pm

A tale of two very different seasons for these clubs last year as Cork surprisingly struggled in the Premier Division as Shels finally flourished in the First. Turners Cross will be packed tonight as both managers look to get off to the best possible start in their first full (Neale Fenn) and first ever (Ian Morris) seasons in the top league. 

Neale Fenn has invested a lot in youth this season with a couple of standout retentions and signings. After a successful spell with Longford and Fenn in 2018, Dylan McGlade has once again linked up with the manager who oversaw the wingers 16 goals and 7 assists in the First Division. The resigning of Gearoid Morrissey who has been named as captain is vital if the Rebels are to make any sort of mark on the league in 2020.

After a seven year absence, Shels will be hoping to bring their first division form to the top flight. Ian Morris will know this is no easy task in what will be only his second year as a manager. Former Bohs defender, Morris, has brought in some talent to help him including Karl Sheppard who will be taking on his most recent team. 

Keeping hold of key players such as Ciaran Kilduff, who has almost 200 Premier Division appearances to his nam,e was very important if the Tolka Park side are to do anything this season. A big step up is predicted and needed so a positive result here will do wonders for the confidence going into the year including the first home game against Dundalk next week.

Match Prediction: Cork 1-1 Shels

Finn Haprs v Sligo Rovers Friday 8pm

Pre-season table predictions have these two teams set to struggle as departures majorly effected the west coast. Dante Leverock, Kris Twardek and Romeo Parkes leave a big hole in the Sligo Rovers squad while Keith Cowan and Daniel O’Reilly will be huge losses for Harps.

However, it’s the side from Ballybofey who will be feeling more positive going into this game with the news that LOI legend Raf Cretaro has put his retirement on hold while Barry McNamee has signed from rivals Derry in what is seen as a brilliant move by the wily Ollie Horgan.  

Match prediction: Finn Harps 1-1 Sligo Rovers

Bohs v Shamrock Rovers Sat 2pm, Live on RTE2

Saturday after lunch is the unusual day and time that sees the first Dublin derby and televised game of 2020 take place in Phibsborough. The biggest fixture in Irish football has been dominated by the home side in recent years with Rovers finally ending a hoodoo in the FAI Cup semi-final last September.

After being thirteen points clear in April last year, Rovers were tipped by many to wrap up the league only to be pegged back by the relentless Dundalk. A disappointing conclusion and feeling about their league collapse was a lot different to how Bohs felt about their outcome.

Keith Long has done wonders at Dalymount and was awarded for his hard work with European qualification which will give the Gypsies a major financial boost going into 2020. Bohs have added to their tight knit squad with the likes of Kris Trawdek, Ciaran Kelly, Anto Breslin and the returning JJ Lunney.

The return of Countdown legend, Dinny Corcoran will be a very welcome site for The Jodi Stand with the hope that Danny Mandroiu continues where he left off last season. His goal of the year strike against Rovers last year is still fresh in the memories of every fan with the Hoops positive they can get some more revenge starting tomorrow. 

Keeping hold of Jack Byne and Graham Burke was huge business for Stephen Bradley’s men. The two midfielders are arguably the most talented players in the league and that was obvious for the majority of last season. Another promising attacking threat is Neil Farrugia who will be entering his first full season in Tallaght.  Dean Williams also looks set to light the league on fire with another UCD recruit, Liam Scales adding to an already solid defence. 

These games are usually fairly cagey affairs and with this being the season opener, it might not be any different. Bohs and Rovers both have game changing players and they will be looking to them to start the year off right. A negative result in a derby always effects teams and this game has even more elements than usual.

Match prediction: Bohs 2-2 Rovers


  1. I was wondering if you ever considered changing the layout of
    your website? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.
    Youve got an awful lot of text for only
    having one or 2 pictures. Maybe you could space it out

  2. Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with the pictures on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to find out if its a problem on my end or if
    it’s the blog. Any responses would be greatly appreciated.

  3. The writer’s title is Loreta Quarterman although she doesn’t truly like staying referred to as like that. I’ve often loved living in New Jersey. The thing he adores most is to foundation soar and now he is making an endeavor to receive funds with it. Interviewing is wherever my principal earnings comes from but the marketing never comes.

  4. I seriously love your site.. Great colors & theme. Did you build this
    web site yourself? Please reply back as I’m attempting
    to create my own personal blog and would love to know where you got this from or exactly what
    the theme is named. Thanks!

  5. Have you ever thought about publishing an e-book or
    guest authoring on other blogs? I have a blog based on the same ideas you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my readers would
    value your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to send me an e-mail.

  6. Pleased to meet up with you! My identify is Loreta. Texas is exactly in which her house is. Interviewing is in which my key income arrives from but the advertising never at any time comes. The favorite pastime for my kids and me is kayaking and now I’m making an attempt to gain income with it.

  7. A motivating discussion is worth comment. I do believe that you ought to write more about this subject matter, it may not be a taboo subject but usually people don’t talk about these topics. To the next! Best wishes!

  8. I just want to say I am all new to weblog and seriously loved your page. Almost certainly I’m planning to bookmark your blog . You amazingly come with remarkable articles and reviews. Appreciate it for sharing your blog site.

  9. Greetings from Idaho! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to check out your site on my iphone during lunch break. I love the info you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m amazed at how fast your blog loaded on my mobile .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, wonderful blog!

  10. There are some fascinating points in time in this article however I don?t understand if I see all of them facility to heart. There is some validity however I will certainly hold point of view till I consider it even more. Great article, many thanks and we want a lot more! Added to FeedBurner as well

  11. There are certainly a great deal of details like that to take into consideration. That is a terrific indicate raise. I offer the thoughts above as basic motivation but clearly there are concerns like the one you raise where one of the most important point will be working in truthful good faith. I don?t understand if ideal practices have actually emerged around things like that, yet I make sure that your job is clearly determined as a fair game. Both young boys and also ladies feel the effect of just a moment?s enjoyment, for the rest of their lives.

  12. Ever considered adding more videos to the web sites to remain readers more entertained? I am talking about I just read over the actual yours therefore was quite good consider I’m i’ll get to a visible learner,I recently found that being more helpful well identify operate appears.

  13. This website is actually a walk-through for all of the information you desired regarding this and didn?t recognize that to ask. Glimpse below, and also you?ll most definitely uncover it.

  14. Youre so great! I don’t intend Ive read anything such as this before. So good to discover someone with some original ideas on this subject. realy thank you for beginning this up. this internet site is something that is required online, a person with a little originality. helpful work for bringing something new to the net!

  15. Hey there I am so delighted I found your blog page, I really found you by mistake, while I was browsing on Digg for something else, Regardless I am here now and would
    just like to say thanks for a remarkable post and a all round interesting blog (I also love the theme/design),
    I don’t have time to read through it all at the moment but I have saved it and also added your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to
    read a lot more, Please do keep up the superb b.

  16. Aw, this was a really wonderful blog post. In suggestion I want to place in writing like this additionally? taking time and also actual effort to make a great article? but what can I claim? I put things off alot and never seem to obtain something done.

  17. A fascinating conversation deserves remark. I think that you must create much more on this subject, it could not be a frowned on topic however typically people are insufficient to talk on such subjects. To the following. Thanks

  18. I’m the co-founder of JustCBD Store label ( and I’m presently aiming to develop my wholesale side of business. I really hope that someone at targetdomain give me some advice ! I thought that the most suitable way to accomplish this would be to connect to vape shops and cbd retailers. I was hoping if anyone could recommend a reliable web-site where I can buy Vape Shop Business Lists I am presently checking out, and Unsure which one would be the best solution and would appreciate any assistance on this. Or would it be simpler for me to scrape my own leads? Suggestions?

  19. When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when brand-new comments are included- checkbox and also now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the very same remark. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks!

  20. Good message. I find out something extra difficult on various blog sites day-to-day. It will certainly constantly be stimulating to check out web content from various other writers as well as practice a something from their shop. I?d like to make use of some with the web content on my blog site whether you don?t mind. Natually I?ll give you a web link on your web blog site. Thanks for sharing.

  21. Oh my goodness! an incredible article guy. Thanks Nevertheless I am experiencing problem with ur rss. Don?t understand why Not able to subscribe to it. Exists anybody obtaining identical rss trouble? Anyone that knows kindly respond. Thnkx

  22. Excellent post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed!
    Very helpful info specifically the last part 🙂 I care for such info a lot.
    I was seeking this certain info for a long time. Thank you
    and best of luck.

  23. Hi! I know this is kinda off topic nevertheless I’d figured I’d ask.

    Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest writing a blog post or vice-versa?
    My website addresses a lot of the same subjects as yours and I think we could greatly benefit from each other.

    If you might be interested feel free to shoot me an e-mail.
    I look forward to hearing from you! Excellent blog by the way!

  24. This website is really a walk-through for all of the info you desired about this as well as didn?t know that to ask. Peek here, and also you?ll absolutely discover it.

  25. Hello! I simply wish to provide a huge thumbs up for the terrific information you have right here on this post. I will be coming back to your blog site for even more quickly.

  26. I am commonly to blogging and also i really value your web content. The post has actually peaks my rate of interest. I am mosting likely to bookmark your website and keep checking for brand-new information.

  27. Can I simply say what a comfort to find somebody who truly understands what they’re talking about over the internet. You definitely understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to check this out and understand this side of your story. I can’t believe you’re not more popular since you definitely possess the gift.

  28. Hi, I do believe this is a great blog. I stumbledupon it 😉 I am going to return once again since i have saved as a favorite it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.

  29. I was extremely pleased to discover this web-site. I intended to thanks for your time for this terrific read!! I most definitely enjoying every little of it as well as I have you bookmarked to check out new things you post.

  30. Oh my benefits! an outstanding article guy. Thanks Nevertheless I am experiencing concern with ur rss. Don?t know why Unable to sign up for it. Exists anybody getting the same rss trouble? Any person that recognizes kindly respond. Thnkx

  31. Hello there, I do believe your blog might be having browser compatibility problems. Whenever I look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in IE, it’s got some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Other than that, great blog!

  32. I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your blog. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more pleasant for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme? Exceptional work!

  33. When I initially commented I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. There has to be a way you can remove me from that service? Thanks a lot!

  34. Can I just state what a relief to discover someone who in fact recognizes what theyre discussing online. You certainly know just how to bring an issue to light as well as make it vital. More individuals require to read this and also recognize this side of the story. I cant think youre not much more popular because you absolutely have the present.

  35. Can I just say what a comfort to find somebody that truly understands what they are talking about on the internet. You certainly realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people must read this and understand this side of your story. It’s surprising you are not more popular since you most certainly have the gift.

  36. I like to get my inspiration from really meaningful phrases said by truly great people like “There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”, do you know where I can find thematic compiltaions of those?


  37. The following time I read a blog site, I wish that it doesn’t disappoint me as long as this. I imply, I recognize it was my selection to check out, yet I really believed youd have something intriguing to claim. All I hear is a bunch of yawping regarding something that you could deal with if you werent as well active trying to find interest.

  38. When I initially commented I clicked the -Inform me when brand-new remarks are included- checkbox and now each time a remark is added I get four e-mails with the very same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that solution? Thanks!

  39. Aw, this was an actually wonderful blog post. In concept I wish to put in creating like this furthermore? taking some time and actual initiative to make an excellent article? however what can I say? I put things off alot as well as by no means appear to get something done.

  40. I found your blog website on google and also examine a few of your very early blog posts. Continue to keep up the excellent operate. I simply added up your RSS feed to my MSN News Viewers. Looking for ahead to finding out more from you later!?

  41. After study a few of the article on your website now, and also I genuinely like your way of blog writing. I bookmarked it to my bookmark site checklist and also will be examining back quickly. Pls look into my internet site too as well as let me know what you assume.

  42. There are definitely a lot of information like that to think about. That is a fantastic indicate raise. I provide the ideas above as general ideas yet plainly there are questions like the one you bring up where the most vital point will be working in truthful good faith. I don?t understand if ideal methods have emerged around points like that, however I make sure that your task is clearly determined as a level playing field. Both boys and also women really feel the impact of simply a moment?s enjoyment, for the rest of their lives.

  43. Magnificent beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your website, how could i subscribe for a blog
    site? The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had
    been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright
    clear concept


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here