Five things we learned from the opening weekend of the Airtricity League of Ireland

 

Clubs and pundits are unhappy with the restructuring of the league. 

In late December, the FAI announced plans for the restructuring of the League of Ireland.

The Premier Division would be cut from 12 to a 10 team league from next season.

First division clubs had no say in the decision, so in effect, only a minority of the clubs had a say in the plans.

The league has previous in this before, between 2002 – 2004 there was a 10 team league and, again from 2009 – 2011

Clubs play each other a minimum of four times a year and under the 10 team format, clubs will play each other every nine weeks instead of every 11 weeks under the 12 team format.

 

Dundalk are still the team to beat

After the highs of last season and the loss of Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle to Preston North End, things were always going to be more difficult this season for Dundalk.

However, they started their season off with a win against a hotly tipped Shamrock Rovers side, whose recruitment on and off the field has been exciting.

Rovers signed Ronan Finn from the lilly whites, while they also appointed Irish legend Damien Duff, as their u15s head coach

 

St Patricks Athletic defensively are still a shambles

 

St. Patrick’s Athletic’s defending at times on Friday was schoolboy however, it must be said they have not helped by the fact that 12 players left in December and 10 new signings came in for the 2017 season.

It was a similar situation with last season where they finished in a disappointing seventh place and this season looks like more of the same, if not worse.

They scored 45 goals throughout last season in the league yet, they conceded a whopping 41 times last year.

Sean Maguire is favourite to be the leagues top goalscorer … again.

After limited game time with champions Dundalk in 2015, Sean Maguire, signed for Cork City in 2016 and was an instant success.

Born in Luton, although he has represented Ireland at both u19 and u21 level, Maguire scored 18 goals in 30 appearances, enough to be the leagues top goalscorer.

It is hard to look beyond Maguire, after scoring the winning goal with a well taken finish, on a dreadful pitch and horrible conditions in Donegal against Finn Harps.

 

Samba soccer on display in Limerick 

A star was born on Friday night at the Markets field.

Only registered on the morning of the game, Rodrigo Tosi scored a hat trick for Limerick FC against Sligo Rovers.

At 34 years old, and having played for 14 different clubs in eight different countries, Tosi is unlikely to have as good a debut as the one in Markets field.

His previous club, was Tampines Rovers of Singapore.

 

Follow me on Twitter – j_carroll15

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