'Rumori' tries to bring coverage of as many continental leagues as possible.
For the SSE Airtricity League (or also known as 'League oif Ireland') we are counting on the insider look of Keith O'Dwyer.
Keith has worked for several years at the Irish club Sligo Rovers as he was the Club Promotion Officer and Secretary. He is now a volunteer within the club and the match commentator for local radio, Ocean FM.
'Radio Ireland' will bring stories and inside look from the Irish football realm.
The race for the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division title took another twist last Friday evening as Dundalk stumbled when they drew 1-1 away against Bray Wanderers while Cork City ground out a 1-0 win over Bohemian F.C. down in front of a sold out Turner’s Cross.
There was a crowd of over 6,000 in attendance.
What that means is that into the last round of games on Friday, Cork lead by a point and the final game sees them travel to take on Dundalk in Oriel Park with the title on the line for both sides.
It has been one of the closest title races in many years and the game on Friday is already nearly sold out and will be live on RTE (Irish state broadcaster) as well. Equally as intriguing is the relegation battle with both UCD and Athlone Town winning on Friday. UCD 1-0 away against Derry City and Athlone 2-0 away against St. Patrick’s Athletic. So Athlone remain bottom and in the automatic relegation spot and UCD one point above them in the play-off position. They are both at home on Friday with UCD home to Drogheda United and Athlone home to Bray who are save for another season. The other game over the weekend saw Shamrock Rovers win 2-0 away against Drogheda.
On Friday I was down in Thomond Park to cover Limerick F.C. vs. Sligo Rovers for Ocean FM. It was a lively game with the hosts winning 1-0 thanks to a second half goal from Rory Gaffney. Thomond Park is the home of Munster rugby who are one of the top teams in Europe and Limerick are renting their ground while their own one is being redeveloped. It has a capacity of 28,000 but there was about 400 at the game so it looked empty. At half time the Chairman of Limerick Pat O’Sullivan made an impassioned plea to the people of Limerick to get behind the club. He also announced that they will be moving back to their spiritual home of Markets Field from next season on and said for the club to continue to operate at its current level they needed an average crowd of 2,500. It was great to hear his passion and love for the club and I just hope that the people of Limerick reciprocate it.
Limerick have to compete with the GAA and Munster rugby for the hearts and minds of the people and if they aren’t competing for honours then there is little interest. This is a common problem for all clubs in the SSE Airtricity League as Rovers crowds have dropped as well but the core support remains strong at 1,200-1,400. It looks like Rovers are getting closer to appointing a new manager with Bohs boss Owen Heary the new favourite but that has yet to be confirmed. It is something which will need to be decided fast as a lot of the top players will be out of contract come the end of the season. Generally in Ireland clubs give players one year deals and usually these are 40 week contracts to cover the season which means at season end the majority of players in the league are free agents and looking for new clubs. It’s not ideal but is a cost saving measure for clubs.
Normally I don’t skip Sligo Rovers games but this Friday I will make an exception as I will be in attendance in Oriel for the title decider as it will be a special occasion for Irish football. I’m not sure who I’d like to win but seeing as my in laws are from Dundalk, I’ll have to go with them!
Until next week,