eircom League: the mid-term report!

On what was a black night for many of the top clubs last Friday, let’s start our mid-term eircom League review with the league leaders. St. Patrick’s Athletic Despite St. Pats being so strong at home this season and going into the game unbeaten and top of the league, they lost 2-0 to Bohemians – and then struggled against a lively Galway United attack.   The Tribesmen secured a 2-1 victory to hand the league’s top side their second successive league defeat.   This result moves Galway all the way up to eighth and ahead of the sides struggling at the bottom. Mid-term report It’s a good thing for St. Pats that the league is now entering its mid-season break. John McDonnell’s side looked like a team in desperate need of the break after they suffered a second defeat in one week. The only consolation for Pats was the fact that results elsewhere did not quite punish their slip-up.   St. Pats have a huge financial clout and manager John McDonnell has been given the go-ahead to buy top players in the transfer window.   For me, St. Pats still do not look like champions – they must improve. Drogheda United Drogheda United dropped more points in disappointing fashion as they played out a 1-1 draw with bottom side Longford Town at United Park. With St. Pats slipping up elsewhere, Drogheda again missed the opportunity to cut the Dublin side’s lead by any real margin.   Drogheda improved a little after the break but still couldn’t take the lead. Mid-term report United failed to take advantage of Pats’ slip-up. The gap at the top is down to four points. Paul Doolin knows that this was a gilt-edged chance missed.   The break will do United good. It gives their long-term injured players time to get fit.   Drogheda with all their players back are still my tip for the championship.   United have been big spenders in recent seasons, but Paul Doolin confirmed to me that he had no plans to add to his squad. But with Declan O’Brien out for the season a striker is a priority. Bohemians Bohs went into the last game as massive favourites having beaten league leaders St. Pats on Monday night.   But Sligo Rovers stunned Bohemians and former boss Sean Connor at the Showgrounds. The Bit O’Red secured a 2-1 win over title hopefuls Bohs as Fahrudin Kuduzovic scored a dramatic winner from the penalty spot in injury-time. Mid-term report Bohemians look to be the only side to have money to spend in the transfer window. I expect some new signing for Sean Connor but I still think for this season it’s a good cup run at best. Shamrock Rovers Hot-shot Tadhg Purcell scored the only goal as Shamrock Rovers extended their good recent run to move within six points of leaders Saint Patrick’s Athletic. Purcell’s goal gave the Hoops a 1-0 win over Eddie Gormley’s Bray Wanderers.   Purcell’s goal gave the Hoops their third win in seven days to leave them within touching distance of bitter rivals Bohemians at the top. Mid-term report The surprise outfit of the season so far as Pat Scully’s team are upsetting all the odds with his side fourth in the league going into the break.   With little or no cash to spend in the transfer window I think Rovers’ best bet this season is a good cup run. Cork City Cork City and Derry City played out a 1-1 draw at Turner’s Cross in the big game in the Premier Division of the eircom League of Ireland. Fortunately for both sides, the top two dropped points so neither team lose ground on top spot. Mid-term report    The Cork City side that contested a thrilling end to season 2005 championship race could only serve up a lacklustre draw with manager-less Derry City.   That draw leaves Cork nine points off the top of the league, but with the return of  Colin Healy and Gareth Farrelly might just give Cork that lift in the league.   For me though they are a long way of being champions.