Byrne Shamrock Rovers

Five things to look out for in the League of Ireland tonight

Saturday night and I like the way you move! With Ireland taking on Denmark last night, league games have had a switch up and will be taking place tonight. This gave the teams and us here at The Football Faithful some extra time to prepare and look at how it will all shape up.

Here are five things you should keep your eye on in this weekend’s League of Ireland fixtures.

Can Shelbourne keep up their winning run?

Four is a magic number for Shels in the First Division at the moment. Four wins in-a-row sees them sitting on top of the league with just four points separating them and Cabinteely in, you guessed it, fourth place.

A nervy one nil win over promotion rivals, Longford Town, last Friday put them just one point ahead of the Midlands side. Conan Byrne’s penalty with ten minutes to go was enough to send the Reds fans home happy. A Saturday by the sea is in store this weekend for those supporters as Bray host Shelbourne in a 3 o’clock kick-off.

Bray will be looking to get back to winning ways after falling short against Cobh in their last game and will have revenge on their minds in this one. The reverse fixture saw Shels come away with all three points and another win for Ian Morris’ side here could go a long way.

Can Finn Harps get another result against the Champions?

In the second game of the season, Harps shocked Dundalk by grabbing a draw in Ballybofey. After that result, Ollie Horgan’s side went on a run that only yielded one point in eleven outings. They come into this game on the back of cracker in Dalymount having scored three goals and still coming out on the losing side.

The up and down nature of that game really summed up Harps season so far. Just two wins from twenty games means the Donegal side are propping up the table. Their opponents on Saturday, however, are top of the summit with a twelve game unbeaten streak under their belt.

Some lovely goals against Bohs including a stunning free kick from Daniel O’Reilly can give some hope to Harps, who will need all the skill and luck they can get tomorrow night.

Can Shamrock Rovers keep the pace at the top?

It’s now been five years since we’ve had a proper, down to the wire, title race. That year, Dundalk beat Cork City to the league by two points with Shamrock Rovers finishing in 4th. This year, Rovers have been making things very exciting at the top.

The Hoops have beaten Derry twice already this season and will be confident of making it a hat-trick come Saturday night. Both teams should come into this game feeling refreshed after having nearly two weeks off. Stephen Bradley’s side are on a three-game winning run and another one in Tallaght will do wonders for their title ambitions.

Rovers’ Jack Byrne could easily be lighting up proceedings in Copenhagen this weekend but will be blessing the home fans with his talent instead. The former Man City youth player has taken his chance in the league with both hands and has been instrumental in his teams stellar season so far. Having him on the pitch is vital for Rovers, and Derry will be sorry to see him again so soon.

Can St.Pats complete a treble?

The Inchicore side have struggled for goals so far this season but have loved played against Sligo. St.Pats former Rovers player, Mikey Drennan has come back to haunt them with two goals in two games including a last minute winner in February.

Drennan and his current side come back to The Showgrounds on the back of another last minute goal, this time from Simon Madden against Cork last week. They have only scored a further 15 goals since these sides met in the second game of the season.

Harry Kenny has come under scrutiny with a lack of creativity becoming a big issue. The return of Chris Forrester hasn’t produced the output that had been expected. Sligo have had an up and down season themselves with some big wins coming against Shamrock Rovers at home and Bohs away which was followed up by a 4-0 loss to Dundalk in their recent outing.

Can Drogheda and Longford kick on?

Just two points separate Drogheda in third and Shelbourne in first. Sandwiched in between these sides are Longford Town who will be hoping to be back on top come the end of the weekend. Neale Fenn’s exciting young side have looked good all year except for a slip up against Saturday’s opponents, Wexford in April.

The struggling side from the South East snatched a late win at home and will be hoping for the same outcome when they travel to The City Calling stadium. Drogheda, meanwhile, take on Athlone who themselves are languishing towards the bottom of the table. Eight goals were shared between Drogheda and Athlone earlier this season with United winning 5-3.

Tim Clancy’s side come into this one in fantastic form having won four games in succession. A stunning 5-nil away win against Cabinteely was the pick of the bunch and got everyone talking. This is Clancy’s second season with Drogheda and being only 35 himself and in charge of talented young players, the future looks bright at United Park.

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