The mid-season break last week meant there was practically no football to watch. This was especially true if you tuned in to the Republic Of Ireland v Austria match, where the ball spent about 80 minutes in the air.
We’re now half-way through the League Of Ireland season and it’s starting to feel in some cases like the natural order has been restored.
Bray Wanderers and Derry City are contrasting examples of this. The early season optimism for Bray has wavered in the last few weeks with some heavily demoralising defeats and some visible bickering between players on the pitch.
Having not won in their last five games, the visit of the Candystripes will be a concern.
I’ll admit that Derry have been chronically under-utilised in these weekly previews.
After the tragic loss of their brilliant captain Ryan McBride, the players and staff deserve massive credit for the resilience they have shown.
I didn’t really know what to make of their early season inconsistencies and still find it tough enough to really evaluate their very young side.
Add to this the fact that they’ve not spent as much as some of the sides below them and Derry’s season will be seen as a success so far.
I’m taking the straightforward odds-against price on Derry to win.
Having essentially handed Cork City the title in a 3-0 defeat last time, some harsh truths will have been dished out over the break by Stephen Kenny. Dundalk, oddly enough, spent their break in a training camp in Cork and as a result I’d expect the Lillywhites to show a little bit more of their old selves in the second-half of the season.
On one hand, their local rivals, Drogheda United will know that Dundalk are a little bit vulnerable after that loss and have dropped a lot of points this year.
On the other hand, the Drogs will know that in recent seasons this derby has only gone one way, with Dundalk winning five of the last six fixtures. More concerning though, for Pete Mahon’s men, is that they haven’t scored in their last eight games. So my selection is for Dundalk to win both halves
I also want to flag up that Drogheda will be susceptible to Michael Duffy’s pace in behind and his dribbling from the byline. So outside of the main selection, Duffy to score in both halves is recommended.
I recently had one of the more stressful experiences of watching Limerick twice throw away a lead only to grab two late goals in a 5-3 win against Bray.
Apart from the shocking defending, this game was notable for the limited game plan employed by Neil McDonald that seemed to get the best out of the forwards.
Limerick’s direct style was very successful with the Brazilian Rodrigo Tosi acting as target man and former Cork youngster Chiedoze Ogbene using his lightning pace to successfully run the channels and bagging a hat-trick.
There’s not much to say about Cork City in this game other than they are a far better unit, will put the weak Limerick defence to the sword and will defend wilfully for the 90 minutes. With that in mind, I’m going to put two bets forward. Maguire to Score & Cork to win should be added to the treble. But for value back Limerick to Lose & Ogbene to Score.
Best Bets: Limerick to Lose & Ogbene to score @ 13/2 and Michael Duffy to score in both halves @ 25/1.
Treble: Derry to win, Maguire to Score & Cork to win and Dundalk to win both halves @ 14/1
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing