Derby day in Dublin, spring is here, and hopes are high. Weekends might be made and weekends might be ruined (as we are fond of saying around here, nobody thinks about the draw in this game of ours). The mood will fluctuate between hope and despair, between pure joy and total fury.

Let’s face it. Ninety minutes inside the most intense fixture the League of Ireland has to offer is rarely enjoyable and is sometimes outright excruciating.

Win or lose, it’ll add years to your life and definitely isn’t good for your health. Score a first half goal, endure a second half onslaught including a penalty crashing off your bar, and, well, it doesn’t get any easier that’s for sure.


Our job for the next few lines though, is to step outside the stomach-churning rollercoaster and put ourselves in the neutral’s shoes. Crowds at this fixture in recent years haven’t always been what they were in the decades before this one. That said, the crowd is still boosted by voyeuristic neutrals here and there.

So how do these neutrals size up the respective squads this season, particularly our own? Well we were heavily backed last week to get the home win against Drogheda United and as we all know, we messed up at the end in the face of a bit of pressure that was high on effort but low on skill.

The hope is that after a couple of clean sheets against UCD, our defence can put that late sickener behind them while ensuring that it also keeps them on their toes. Our squad is significantly changed from last season and in the midfield, players like Walsh and Beattie should be capable of using the buzz of this fixture to motivate themselves, while also ensuring that they are not forced onto the margins.

Getting to grips in the middle of the park will be crucial for us against opposition much changed from last season. If both teams name last week’s starters, there’d be a couple of derby debutants on each side. With all of this in mind, even the neutral will think we are a fair bet at 19/20 +0.5 with Bet 365

Elsewhere on the fixture list…elsewhere on the fixture list, does anyone care?

OK, one more. Sligo a steal at evens with Boyles at the time of writing. We had them 7/10 to take care of business against Dundalk. They are unlikely to be evens by Saturday evening.

Bohs +0.5 on Asian Handicap, 1pt 19/20 (Bet365)
Sligo Rovers, 1pt evens (Boyles)

Season P+L: -1.42

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