Storm Ciara interfered with the curtain-raiser for this season’s SSE Airtricity League as the heavy winds led to the postponement of the President’s Cup Final. That was to have been played in Oriel Park yesterday afternoon between the Premier Division champions Dundalk and the FAI Cup winners Shamrock Rovers. That game will be re-arranged at a later date. It all means that it will be straight into league action this coming weekend.
The Premier Division gets underway this coming Friday on St. Valentine’s Day. The champions are home to Derry City in Oriel Park. Shelbourne who won last season’s First Division are away to Cork City in Turner’s Cross. St. Patrick’s Athletic welcome Waterford FC to Richmond Park. In the first derby of the new season, the North-West derby will take place in Finn Park as the Finn Harps will be taking on their neighbours Sligo Rovers.
That game kicks-off at 8 pm and the others at 7:45 pm while the remaining fixture takes place on Saturday afternoon at 2 pm. It is the first Dublin Derby of the season and it is already sold out with Bohemian FC hosting last season’s FAI Cup winners, Shamrock Rovers. For Shamrock it is an immediate test of their title ambitions against a side who have so often proved to have been a bogey one for them over the past few seasons.
The sides are continuing to finalise their squads ahead of the season start. Dundalk have reached an agreement with Serbian SuperLiga club Proleter Novi Sad for the transfer of Stefan Colovic. The move is subject to the player qualifying for his work permit and getting international clearance from FIFA. It is a real interesting signing and shows that Dundalk are looking to cast their net wide as they look to make an impact in Europe.
Finn Harps meanwhile have had a marquee signing of their own as they have brought in Barry McNamee from Derry City. The midfielder had previously been with Cork City as well and is rated as one of the best players in the country. Sligo Rovers have brought in a former Harps player – striker Jesse Devers who impressed during pre-season earned himself a contract.
And in keeping with the tone of the pre-season, we have further developments in the ongoing saga in Limerick. Treaty United who were briefly Limerick United, have announced that they will not now be entering sides in the national under-age leagues this season. Limerick FC have announced that will be looking to enter sides in these leagues and are currently recruiting players. Still no word on who is managing their senior side and what players, if any, they have signed up.