This weekend’s previews

Premier Division St. Patrick’s Athletic v Longford Town (Richmond Park, 7.45 pm)  Saint Patrick’s Athletic relinquished the League of Ireland lead when they lost to second from bottom Waterford United at the Waterford RSC. Crucially now, the Saints have played one game more than new leaders Drogheda United. Saints’ boss John McDonnell again made unforced changes as he handed Dave Rogers a debut in defence. The Saints couldn’t equalise for a second time and have now failed to win in their last five away games in the league – losing three of them. Shamrock Rovers heaped more misery on doomed Longford Town at Flancare Park on Friday night.  Longford had actually started the game decently and former Hoop Dave Mooney forced an early save from former Longford favourite Stephen O’Brien in the visiting goal with a deflected shot. Andy Myler – another ex Longford player – made it 3-0 on 75 minutes. He finished neatly to the net as a disheartened Longford side faded. Prediction: A must win game for John McDonnell side – home win. Other games this weekend: Shamrock Rovers v UCD. (Tolka Park, 8 pm) Prediction: Home win Cork City v Waterford United (Turner’s Cross, 7.45 pm) Prediction: Home win: Sligo Rovers v Galway United (The Showgrounds, 7.45 pm) Prediction: Draw Bray Wanderers v Derry City (Carlisle Grounds, 7.45 pm) Prediction: Away win Drogheda United v Bohemians (United Park, 7.45 pm) Prediction: Draw First Division Athlone Town v Kilkenny City  In the First Division, Cobh Ramblers could only draw 0-0 on their trip to face managerless Athlone Town. However, Athlone Town will be pleased to start life after Michael O’Connor with a respectable result against one of the promotion-chasing sides.   For Finn Harps, it might not have been overly convincing but an early Declan Boyle goal sent Harps on their way to a sixth consecutive win. Delcan Boyle’s fifteenth minute goal handed them a 1-0 win over Kilkenny City at Buckley Park. Prediction: Home win News item with pic enclosed Axing of Michael O’Connor I was shocked at hearing the news that Michael O’Connor was no longer in charge of Athlone Town. Did he step down as team manager or was he pushed?   Both Michael and the O’Connor family have given invaluable service to Athlone Town FC over many years, both on and off the pitch. In his time with the club, Michael did a lot of great work and by signing some fine players to play for the Town, he also brought stability and quality to the club. I’m surprised he hasn’t been given more time because new players take time to bed in.   Letting Michael go now is way too early in my opinion and I think that some of the senior players must take a very long and hard look in the mirror. It’s not just about being paid good money, you must get it right on the park also, too many players are playing under par week in and week out.      The results have not gone Michael’s way and with the so-called supporters calling for his head, it was only a matter of time before the board of Athlone Town would act. When a small group can push the board into a decision like this, it is supporters’ power gone mad in my opinion. Mr. Dermot Lennon and Mr. Gordon Brett will take charge of first team affairs for the foreseeable future.