It might not be the most glamourous league in the world, but this year’s Irish top division is undoubtedly proving to be exciting, with three sides in contention for the title.
At the halfway stage of the competition, all three are locked on 38 points at the top of the table.
Shamrock Rovers lead on goal difference, with Sligo Rovers and St Patrick’s Athletic sitting second and third in hot pursuit.
The current leaders are seeking to win back-to-back League of Ireland titles, while Sligo are aiming to end a nine-year wait for glory.
St Patrick’s have also been made to wait, with 2013 being their last league success.
This season has seen the three teams continually swap positions, and it looks unlikely that one team will simply pull away.
Shamrock to Pass Tricky Derry Test
No other team in Irish league history has won more titles than Shamrock Rovers as they seek their 19th triumph.
Having the experience of winning in 2020 will certainly stand Stephen Bradley’s men in good stead.
They have led the league table more than any other side this season and have generally been the most consistent, as close as it is at the top.
Their next task is a trip to sixth place Derry City on Friday, which should be a tough test.
After an awful start to the season, losing their opening four, Ruaidhri Higgins’ men recently embarked on an eight-match unbeaten run.
They have since lost two from three as goalscoring proves to be a problem – netting just 21 in 20 games.
Shamrock may find them tough to break down, but they should win this one and can be backed at
10/13 to get the result.
Drogheda to Share Spoils With St Patrick’s
Given St Patrick’s have played one more game than Shamrock and Sligo, their need to win is ever so slightly heightened.
They have been the most “entertaining” team of the top three this season – their games have involved 53 goals so far this season, with Shamrock on 45 and Sligo on 40.
However, their defence is the weakest of the three, conceding 20 goals, and discipline has proved to be problematic recently – four red cards have been shown in their last three games.
Drogheda arrive in Dublin as the fourth-place best-of-the-rest team and will be pushing for a win to keep up their faint hopes of European qualification.
They defeated St Patrick’s 3-1 at home in May and can be backed to get a draw in this one at
Sligo Set For Comfortable Sunday
Second place Sligo have to wait until Sunday until they’re next in action as they travel south to face ninth place Waterford.
They currently possess the best defence in the league, with their miserly backline letting only 13 goals past them all season.
Form-wise, they have won their last two league clashes after going three without a win beforehand.
Sligo have won both their league games against Waterford this season by an aggregate of 5-1 and should have enough to get past the league’s second from bottom side.
Marc Birchham’s Waterford have won just one home game all season, a 1-0 win against bottom team Longford Town, and Sligo can be backed at
20/27 to increase the pressure.