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SSE Airtricity League preview: Will the title change hands?

The start of the 2015 SSE Airtricity Premier League is fast approaching, with the opening day less than two weeks away  and all eyes are on the twelve teams who are set to battle it out for what is sure to be yet another entertaining title race.

 

In 2014 we were treated to a title race that went down to the final day of the season as Dundalk only just edged past Cork City to claim their first league title since 1995. With some big transfers taking place over the winter and clubs holding on to their vital players, this season’s title race is set to go down to the wire. St Patricks Athletic, who will be fresh from their FAI Cup win last season, will pose a huge threat to Dundalk who are amongst just some of the favourites to be crowned champions.

 

Some of the big transfers that happened over the winter break include Keith Fahey’s move from St Patricks across Dublin to Shamrock Rovers, which could prove vital for the hoops’ title challenge this season. The Tallaght side finished 12 points behind Dundalk last season and manager Pat Fenlon will be looking to lay a marker down on this season’s campaign from the kick-off with a home tie against St. Pats in Tallaght stadium on the 6th of March.  Unfortunately for the Rovers faithful, Fahey is not available for what is arguably the glamour tie of the opening set of fixtures.

 

A side we may see struggle this season is Derry City who have failed to bring in many fresh faces after they lost some of their big players. Michael Duffy, Rory Patterson, Barry Molloy and Danny Ventre have all left the Brandywell and it’s very possible that we’ll see Peter Hutton and his team struggle to make any significant impact on the challenge for the title.

 

The relatively unknown Keith Long arrives as manager of Bohemians and this could prove to be a good coup by the North Dublin side who will look to return to the form they have shown in previous years. Kealan Dillon, Derek Prendergast and Dean Kelly are the men who have been brought in by Long  in an effort to compete with last seasons top four.

 

Towards the bottom of the table we may see Limerick struggle after failing to keep two of their top players in Sam Oji and Stephen Folan, despite their good season in 2014. Whether or not Bray Wanderers get a license for 2015 is still up in the air but many experts have said that they will struggle if they do. If they are not granted their playing license we will see Waterford United enter the league and they are a team who are not quite at the standard needed for Ireland’s top division.

 

SSE Airtricity League new boys Longford Town could be the surprise package in this years campaign having impressed in 2014. They have strengthened during the break by  bringing in some very important new faces with players like Stephen Rice and Pat Flynn who have years of League experience behind them. Longford may be this years surprise package and a good cup run is expected from the team.

 

An open race for the title is yet another certainty in the 2015 SSE Airtricity Premier League. St Patricks, Shamrock Rovers, Dundalk and Cork City all look set to be there come the end of the season again and at this early stage it’s too hard to make any sort of prediction. The only thing we can be assured of is another year of entertaining and exciting Irish football.sse feature

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