The League of Ireland kicks off the 2020 season on Friday night and you’d still have to fancy Dundalk again this season.
They set the standard in the league and are the team to beat. They look a decent bet to me at even money to win the title again.
I fully expect Shamrock Rovers to be the team to put it up to them this year and they overcame them in last season’s FAI Cup final. That will give them massive confidence even though the deficit in the league was 11 points.
I think they’ll finish closer this time around but Dundalk are still ahead in my view.
On the top goalscorer market, Pat Hoban is the obvious one but 7 of his 13 goals last season were from the penalty spot and he’s no value at 9/2. I fancy Georgie Kelly in this market. He’s a player to watch out for and I’m expecting a big season from him.
If Hoban performs like he did last season, I think Georgie Kelly could be the main man for Dundalk up front and I think he’s serious value at 14/1.
If you’re looking for a bet on a team to be relegated, I think Cork City could struggle big time. Finn Harps are the obvious ones to go down but they’ve signed well ahead of the new season. Cork’s squad has been decimated and I think it’s going to be a tough season for them.
I think there’s value in Cork City to finish bottom of the Premier Division this season at 7/1.
I think it will be a long hard season for Cork City (11/10), while Shels will want to start the season well after being promoted. They’ll want to establish themselves back in the Premier Division and I fancy Shels (23/10) to get a surprise result here. I think they can nick a win.
Dundalk had unbelievable home form last season as out of 18 home matches, they won 16 of them and drew the other two. It’s fair to say they’re formidable at home in Oriel Park. Throw in the fact that Derry City (11/2) have lost their two best strikers in David Parkhouse and Junior, who scored half of their goals last season, and it’s going to be very difficult for Derry City so I’m going for Dundalk (2/5) for an easy home win.
I’ve seen there’s been good money this week for St Pat’s ahead of this game and their fans are very optimistic ahead of the new season. They’ve got a new manager in Stephen O’Donnell and he’s cleared a lot of the old players from last season and he’s brought in ten new signings. I’m expecting a big season for St Pat’s and they’re taking on a Waterford (4/1) side who’ve lost a lot of players. I think this will be a home win for St Pat’s (8/13) at Richmond Park.
I’ll be in trouble for saying this about my beloved Sligo (7/5) but I do worry for them this season. They’ve lost Romeo Parkes, who was their top scorer last season, and they’ve lost John Mahon through injury. They’re going up to Finn Park with another couple of injuries and I’m concerned for them ahead of this game. There should be a big crowd in Ballybofey and Ollie Horgan has signed quite well for Finn Harps in the close season. I think there could be value in a home win for Finn Harps (15/8) here.
Saturday, 2.00pm. RTE 2
It’s the first live game of the season and it’s a massive game. Bohs v Rovers has really lived up to the hype in the last few seasons and it’s Bohs who have the edge over Shamrock Rovers in most of those games, but Rovers did manage to beat Bohs in the last league game last season and then in the FAI Cup semi-final.
This is going to be really tight and I think this will be a score draw. I think Dinny Corcoran (11/2 FGS) is the man to open the scoring here. He’s been a brilliant player for Bohemians and you have to remember that he started off last season in great goal-scoring form before he got injured. He’s back and raring to go and I think he can get the first goal here. It’s so hard to call the winner but it will be a cracking game.
Dundalk are the bankers of the night against Derry City. I really think Stephen O’Donnell will do a great job with St Pat’s and I think he can get up and running with a win against Waterford.
The team to make the treble is Shels. I really think they can go to Turners Cross and get a win against Cork City and get us a winning treble on the opening night.