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09th Mar 2023

Damien Duff to pile more misery on winless Shamrock Rovers?

Rory Fleming

Another drama-filled weekend of League of Ireland action awaits.

The last week of League of Ireland action was compelling, from red cards to post-match scuffles and halfway-line wonder strikes.

There was a lot of action both on and off the park with the third and fourth rounds of fixtures being played back-to-back on both Friday and Monday.

A sold-out Tallaght Stadium watched on as Derry downed the champions.

Shamrock Rovers winless run extended to four league games and Derry claimed a first victory in Tallaght since 2017. Meanwhile, St Patrick’s Athletic conceded five goals on the road. And that was just Friday night’s action.

Round 5 of the League of Ireland season looks set to be jam-packed full of drama. There are two Dublin derbies and first faces third at the Brandywell.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of this weekend’s fixtures. All games kick off at 7.45 pm on Friday, bar Sligo Rovers versus Cork City on Saturday.

Derry sit top of the table following back-to-back victories in Dublin.

Derry City v Dundalk.

Derry enjoyed their weekend sojourn to the capital. They banished their Tallaght hoodoo with a resolute 2-1 win over Shamrock Rovers and sailed past UCD with a 4-0 win.

Dundalk, who started the season off on shaky footing, have strung together consecutive wins at Oriel Park over both St. Pats and Shelbourne. Stephen O’Donnell’s side are in third place and know a victory could see them go top.

Friday’s clash at the Brandywell promises to be an entertaining affair for the domestic football neutral. Derry and Dundalk are both in potent attacking form, and have scored six and seven in their last two fixtures respectively.

Duff and Bradley are both in need of a win ahead of their Dublin derby.

Shelbourne v Shamrock Rovers

Shamrock Rovers are to defend their League of Ireland crown, then this Friday’s clash at Tolka Park is already shaping up to be a must-win game for Stephen Bradley’s side.

A suspension-plagued Rovers should have gotten something from their Derry defeat. They followed up that positive performance with a last-gasp 4-4 draw at home to a newly-promoted Cork City side.

Shelbourne are unbeaten at home so far this season. Yet, Damien Duff’s team sit just above Rovers in seventh place after two defeats on the road. An engrossing Dublin Derby awaits.

Bohs sit in second after winning three of their opening four.

St. Patrick’s Athletic v Bohemians

Tim Clancy’s side had started the season strongly before a 5-0 thumping at Dundalk was followed by a deflating 2-1 defeat away to 10-man Sligo.

Bohs on the other hand are flying high with three wins from their opening four, with Declan Devine’s side dispatching Drogheda 3-1 last time out.

A sold-out crowd at Richmond Park will be expecting a result from the Inchicore side. St Pats, however, however must stop a resurgent Bohs side led by Jordan Flores, who has scored three times already this season.

The Students prop up the table after consecutive 4-0 defeats.

UCD v Drogheda United

UCD are another side that opened the campaign with strong performances such as their draw at Oriel Park on the opening weekend.

Andy Meyler’s side, however, are rooted to the bottom of the table, and in search of a first win of the campaign, after two consecutive 4-0 defeats.

Drogheda, meanwhile, were unbeaten until defeat at Dalymount Park on Monday night. They will be looking to secure their position in mid-table with more points on the road.

Cork’s Darragh Crowley scored a stunning lob away to Rovers.

Sligo Rovers v Cork City

Sligo have yet to lose at the Showgrounds this season and currently sit in fourth place.

John Russell’s side were expected to miss the goals of Aidan Keena, who left the club in the off-season. Max Mata, however, has plugged that gap and scored a hattrick against UCD in the second round.

Cork head to Sligo after scoring eight in their last two games. They followed a 4-0 hammering of UCD with an incredulous 4-4 draw away to the champions in Tallaght on Monday.

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