The new season in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division may only be a few weeks old but already there is a familiar pattern emerging as Cork City and Dundalk are again looking like the teams that will contest the title. Dundalk are looking to make it four in a row while Cork want to shake off the bridesmaid tag. It is Cork who lead the way at the moment as they maintained their unbeaten start to the season by beating Shamrock Rovers 2-1 in the Tallaght Stadium. Seanie Maguire got both of their goals either side of a penalty from Graham Burke. In Oriel Park Dundalk were 3-0 winners against St. Patrick’s Athletic with Patrick McEleney getting two of their goals while Ciaran Kilduff got the first. Derry City look the best equipped of the rest to gatecrash the title race and they followed up on last Monday’s victory over Dundalk by beaten the other side from County Louth Drogheda United 4-0. Ronan Curtis set them on their way with Barry McNamee getting a hat-trick. For those of you with an interest in football trivia Derry are currently playing their games in Maginn Park in the neighbouring county of Donegal while their home ground the Brandywell in being revamped.
Speaking of Donegal Finn Harps drew 1-1 away to Limerick. Rodrigo Tosi scoring for the home side with Sean Houston on the mark for Harps. Bohemian F.C. and Galway United drew 1-1 in Dalymount Park. Dinny Corcoran gave Bohs the lead with former Notts County man Rona Murray equalising for Galway. And last but not least Sligo Rovers record their first win of the season as they came from behind to beat Bray Wanderers 3-2 in the Showgrounds. Gary McCabe scored both goals for Bray with Rovers goals coming from Chris Kenny and Kieran Sadlier. The first was an own goal from Derek Foran. And so it will be all eyes on Turners Cross this coming Saturday afternoon as Cork play host to Dundalk. These meetings have proved defining in terms of the title race and even this early into the new season both sides will be looking to land the first blow. Kick-off is at 3pm. For me it will be short trip up to Ballybofey as Sligo Rovers travel to play Finn Harps in Finn Park in the North West derby. That game is also on Saturday and has a 7:45pm kick-off.
This season is a pivotal one in the Premier Division as three teams will be automatically relegated rather than the usual one as the league will be reducing from 12 teams to 10. The knock on effect of that is that only one team will be promoted from the First Division. The First Division in the SSE Airtricity League has only 8 teams and the FAI want to have two divisions of 10 teams. In results from the weekend Shelbourne and Waterford played out a 2-2 draw in Tolka Park. Wexford and UCD drew 1-1. Cabinteely beat Longford Town 2-0 and Cobh Ramblers were 5-1 winners at home to Athlone Town. That win means that Cobh currently top the table.