BETTING COLUMN BY SEAMUS O’CONCHUR
Another year, another gamble. As defending champions, St Pat’s are the team who people are looking at but it’s worth remembering that Sligo weren’t able to win two in a row despite having a well-fancied squad this time last year.
Pat’s, though, as defending champions cannot be accused of standing still, with Keith Fahey the notable arrival in Inchicore, and settling in easily. The teams around St Pat’s have also strengthened though, and if an outright bet was obligatory, Sligo Rovers (7/2) and Dundalk (6/1) are probably the most interesting.
On the opening night of the season the easiest thing to say is that no bet should be too big. It’s a small league and an argument can be made that all the teams know each other very well, so as the season goes on punters will have to mix the obvious statistics together with their observations on certain teams before piling into Friday night bets.
The defending champions travel to Cork and at a best price of evens, make little or no appeal in the betting. Cork have improved their squad and even though the Saints have had a Setanta Cup game to improve their fitness, it’s doubtful they should be as short as they are to collect the away win here.
Drogheda host Dundalk in a game that many people will be expecting to finish in an away win. It’s worth remembering though, that Dundalk suffered a total meltdown at this same venue in the cup last season, having two men sent off in a madcap first half during which Stephen Kenny didn’t do a great job of keeping a lid on emotions. There are plenty of reasons why Dundalk might win the game but at 4/5 they are too short.
While it is always dangerous to read too much into one game, Bray looked abject in their LSC hiding at Dalymount recently. They could find the going very tough indeed this season, and with Jason Byrne having moved to the Home of Football, it’s hard to see much inspiration in their team. Thomond Park isn’t exactly hostile but it’s easy to see Bray struggling down there and 11/10 Limerick -1 on the Asian handicap is the bet of the week.
Our own trip to UCD is not a very inspiring opening fixture and while Owen Heary should send out a highly motivated starting eleven, Aaron Callaghan will feel he knows us very well and unless you got the 6/5 early quotes on the Gypsies, the away win isn’t a great bet.
Recommended: Limerick -1 Asian handicap, 1pt 11/10 (Bet365)