The first two rounds of Airtricity League action appeared to confirm our pessimistic preseason suspicions, as Limerick FC were well off the pace required to compete in the top flight. Since then things have started to look a lot more positive for Martin Russell and his troops, culminating in last weekend’s 1-1 draw with league champions Dundalk – the first time all season that the Oriels either dropped a point or conceded a goal.
This Friday’s trip to Bray Wanderers represents an obvious opportunity for Limerick to take the next step and secure their first win of the season, and even though Bray have also picked things up a little, overcoming Sligo Rovers by 3-1 last Friday, they still haven’t been consistently competitive. Unlike Limerick’s draw with Dundalk, Bray picked up their three points by beating a Sligo team that have fallen far below expectations this year, so it’s easier to pick holes in that form. That was also the first time that they scored a goal all year, and while they might get another one against a weak Limerick defensive unit, that shouldn’t preclude the idea that the result can still be an away win.
Paddy Power bet 19/10 about Limerick winning the match, but the subsidiary markets – as is often the case – could be the best source of real value in this game. 11/2 is expected to be the price about Limerick winning in a game where three or four goals are scored, while 10/1 is the likely odds about a 2-1 win for the away side. Both of those could be good options for someone looking for the potential of a nice return on a comparatively small stake.
In the other games that are down for decision, Bohemians at 4/5 at home to Longford Town looks like the standout value. Keith Long’s tenure at Dalymount Park has been far more successful than even the most optimistic supporters would have expected, and already this week they easily accounted for the midlanders in the EA Sports Cup. Bohs tend to fall short against the leading sides in the division but their discipline and organisation tends to be far too much for lesser teams, and Longford definitely fall into that category.
Finally, things are likely to get worse before they get better at the Showgrounds, so Galway United at 23/10 at home to Sligo Rovers looks like incredible value. Rovers are by far the better team on paper, but their EA Sports Cup defeat to Derry City during the week was the latest in a long line of bad news stories for the Bit’o’Red and while they’re likely to turn things around at some point, there should be good money to be made in opposing them in the meantime.
Odds from Paddy Power – by Kevin Egan