After a long wait football is back with action resuming in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division this evening. Fixtures will be staged over the course of the weekend as part of a new initiative which will mean that all games in the top flight will be streamed through a new app called LOIGO. The cost is €55 which is very reasonable as it covers all the remaining games that will be played in the division. The first game back is the North West Derby with Derry City hosting Sligo Rovers at the Brandywell. Both sides have strengthened ahead of the fixture. Derry have brought in experienced winger Adam Hammil while Rovers have made an eye catching signing in that of striker Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe.
Junior was the top scorer in the league last season when he played with Derry. He won’t be eligible for the game this evening as Rovers are awaiting his international clearance. He had most recently been with Israeli Premier League club Hapoel Hadera. His signing was the culmination of an incredible bout of fundraising by Rovers supporters. The supporters club the Bit o’Red Supporters Trust launched a go fund me campaign with the aim of raising €30,000 for the club and ended up raising €82,000!
Dundalk who will be looking to close the gap on leaders Shamrock Rovers are home to St. Patrick’s Athletic. St. Pat’s of course are managed by former Dundalk star Stephen O’Donnell. He has brought in one of his former team-mates Georgie Kelly on loan until the end of the season. Kelly won’t be eligible to play against his parent club. Dundalk have brought back to the club their former striker David McMillan after his two and a half year spell with St. Johnstone.
Shelbourne will be hosting Waterford on Saturday. For the Blues it will be a first game in charge for their new manager John Sheridan. He replaced Alan Reynolds who resigned to take the job as assistant manager with Dundalk. He will also be involved with the Republic of Ireland U-21’s. Leaders Shamrock Rovers will be hoping to pick up from where they left off when they host Finn Harps. Rounding off the weekend’s fixtures then is the meeting of Cork City and Bohemian FC on Sunday evening. These games won’t be played completely behind closed doors with some clubs allowing up to 50 supporters to attend.
And finally best of luck to my good friend Gavin Peers this evening as he looks to join an elite group of players that have won both the FAI Cup and the IFA Cup. He and his Glentoran team-mates take on Ballymena United in this evening’s final in Windsor Park.