The Airtricity League of Ireland kicks off on March 7th and I for one can not wait.The upcoming season promises to be the best ever as players and fans alike gear themselves up for the battles ahead.A lot of movement has been done in the transfer market and the managerial merry go round has been flying since the finish of last season.
Three managers who have taken up new posts are Roddy Collins who left Division One Champions Athlone, and moved to takeover at the Derry City.Also on the move was Mick Cooke who left his post at Drogheda United and took on the position at newly promoted Athlone Town.Last but not least was Alan Matthews taking over at Bray Wanderers.The seaside club dismissed veteran manager Pat Devlin after he had been at the club since 1986.A big suprise in the soccer world in Ireland,and Pat was a very disappointed man when he was given the news.The man who took over at Bray,Alan Matthews in fact once played for Pat,so the pill was even harder to swallow for Devlin.
Looking ahead clubs will be gearing up to dethrone Saint Patrick,s Athletic of their Premier League title.They in turn will be looking forward to an adventure in European competition this season in the qualifying rounds for the Champions league.I do hope they can go on a bit of a run in that competition as the league needs to get a higher profile in Europe.If you were to ask me now where this years title is going I would say flip a coin between Saint Pat,s and Sligo Rovers.Also in the mix this season I expect to be Shamrock Rovers after a poor season last term for the Tallaght outfit.
In Division One, relegated Shelbourne,have managed to keep manager Johnny McDonnell in position and would hope to bounce back at the first time of asking.A club the size of Shelbourne do not want to spend too long out of the top flight,as the whole club has premier league written all over it.Chairman Joe Casey is one of the nice guys of Irish football and deserves his club to be in the top flight. Shelbourne need to get off to a good start to the season,to shake off the memories of the last one.The first month will be vital for the reds and if they can gain momentum they should bounce back.Also in this division we will see a second Shamrock Rovers team which could be of huge interest as the months pass by.One other club I have to mention in division one is Galway who are back in the league.
All in all it promises to be a superb season and will feature very highly on this site over the coming months.I will get out and about to see as many games as I can and bring you the updates on whatever is happening in the Airtricity League of Ireland.
Athlone Town,Bray,Cork City,Limerick,Derry City,Drogheda United,Dundalk,Shamrock Rovers,Sligo Rovers,St.Patricks Athletic,UCD.
Cobh Ramblers,Finn Harps,Galway,Longford Town,Shamrock Rovers B,Shelbourne,Waterford United,Wexford Youths.