Shamrock Rovers still look strongest of Dublin's five Premier Division teams
With the recent promotions of UCD and Shelbourne, half of the teams contesting this year’s LOI Premier Division come from the capital.
The year has also seen a rise in the popularity of the league, which is likely down to a steadily improving product and the success of Stephen Kenny's time in charge of our national side. Shamrock Rovers are reigning champions, but they have a real title fight on their hands, this season.
We are now a quarter of the way through the 2022 season and, here, Tom Gannon gives his opinion on how all five Dublin teams are getting on so far.
The current champions have been getting results. They are quite energetic in their pressing on teams and, for the most part, are very composed and in control.
The draw at home to Sligo stands out as a disappointing result for a team that’s trying to retain the title. On Friday, they got a late winner against Shelbourne but looked uncomfortable in the second half of that game. The pressure is coming on Rovers mostly down to the fact that Derry City has been so good and their opening a little bit of a gap at the top of the table.
Stephen Bradley’s men certainly have the talent to push Derry City, but they need their star players, the likes of Jack Byrne and Richie Towell, to push on to another gear this season. We haven’t really seen Rovers hit the same level of performance that they were putting in in 2021. As it stands Derry City look to have the upper hand on them.
- Rating so far: 8/10
- Stand out player: Gary O’Neil
- Likely league finishing position: 2nd
St Patrick's Athletic
The Inchicore men had a cracking start to the season. They won four of their opening six games beating champions Shamrock Rovers in the process. They lost away to the league leaders Derry just before the international break and, since then, have had average draws against Drogheda and Dundalk.
The St Pat's defence is solid and they’ve had five clean sheets in their nine games. They go through spells of games where you think they’re in trouble, but they do have are quick on the break and their creativity in midfield has been impressive. They are still in the title race but you get the sense that, as the season grows, Rovers and Derry City may pull away from them.
On the evidence so far, they should have enough to hold on to third place. Overall, so far, they’ve been quite good and Timmy Clancy doesn’t have too much to complain about.
- Rating so far: 7/10
- Stand-out player: Chris Forrester
- Likely league finishing position: 3rd
It’s been a mixed start to the season for the Bohs. They’ve had some poor results against teams that you would have thought they should have the upper hand on - draws against Finn Harps, Shelbourne, and UCD. Bohs would have been expected to probably obtain seven points at least out of those three games in particular.
They conceded a late equaliser away at Drogheda, on Friday, which is disappointing for Keith Long. There was a lot of expectation for this team this year. After making the cup final last season, there was a sense that Bohemians this year could potentially challenge for the top three. That seems unlikely now and another mid-table finish appears to be on the cards.
- Rating so far: 5/10
- Stand-out Player: Promise Omochere
- Likely league finishing position: 5th
After returning to the Premier Division, Shelbourne have had a pleasing start to the season, lying in seventh place. Their away form has been excellent, picking up eight of their nine points on the road. Their home form hasn’t been as good and that 3-0 loss at home against fellow relegation battlers Finn Harps stands out as a particularly poor result.
They have been bouncing back, though, from some poor performances. Friday's match against Shamrock Rovers will go down as a loss but it was really positive for Shelbourne, particularly in the second half. Survival would still be the main goal of Shels but, if they can maintain their away form and start improving in Tolka Park, a top-half finish may not be completely out of the question.
- Rating so far: 7/10
- Stand-out Player: Shane Farrell
- Likely league finishing position: 6th
The South Dubliners haven’t made an impact this season on their return to the first flight. They’ve only scored three goals. They picked up draws against teams around them like Shelbourne and Finn Harps. But they need to do more if they’re going to have any hope of survival.
UCD look a bit leaky in defence and most teams look very comfortable and in control against them. At this stage, it’s very hard to see any other outcome barring a return back to the First Division.
- Rating so far: 2/10
- Stand out player: Sam Todd
- Likely league finishing position: 10th