In a Nutshell: The 2022 League of Ireland Season Preview

A new League of Ireland season is just around the corner and many fans can’t wait for it to kick-off. There has been a major surge in demand for tickets, with some clubs reporting record sales. 

People are still talking about the antics of last season, which was full of dramatic and memorable moments for many clubs. Shamrock Rovers winning the league back-to-back for the first time in ten years was not surprising as they were favourites to retain the title. St Patrick’s Athletic also had celebrations of their own, winning the FAI cup for the first time since 2014, after beating Bohemians on penalties. 

It wasn’t all doom and gloom for Bohemians, however, as they had a great run in Europe with a massive win against POAK in the Europa Conference League in the Aviva Stadium. Alas, they were defeated in the away leg and lost 3-2 on aggregate. Bohemians weren’t the only team to have success in Europe. Rovers and Dundalk also played their hearts out abroad and showed what the league is capable of.  

In the run up to this season, there has plenty of chopping and changing of managers in the league. Stephen O’Donnell left St. Pat’s to join his former side Dundalk. Kevin Doherty replaced Tim Clancy in Drogheda. And the biggest surprise was former Republic of Ireland and Chelsea winger Damien Duff taking the reins at Shelbourne.  

There has been a lot of key signings in the league. The fan favourite and two-time player of the year Jack Byrne returns to his former side Shamrock Rovers after only leaving them 12 months. Pat’s have also bolstered their team by adding former Preston striker Eoin Doyle. The 33-year-old joins Pat’s from Bolton Wanderers and will want to make an impression in the league. 

Derry City are also looking to improve their chances of a title this season by bolstering the team with new signings Michael Duffy, Patrick McEleney, Cameron Dummigan and Will Patching. The team most busy in the transfer window has been Shelbourne, who hope to stay in the Premier Division.  

There have also been departures aplenty in the league. For Bohemians, one player who looks certain to leave is last season’s top goal scorer and player of the year Georgie Kelly, who wants to move abroad. They have also lost captain Keith Buckley and long-time servant Keith Ward.  

Champions Shamrock Rovers will miss veteran player Joey O’Brien as a character on and off the field after he announced his retirement from the game last season. Sligo Rovers lost young talent Johnny Kenny to Celtic. An agreement was met between the two clubs for the 18-year-old after his breakout season. A massive loss for Drogheda will be captain James Brown who secured a move to Championship side Blackburn Rovers. It will be hard to replace the much loved and respected leader.  

The favourites to win the league for a third year in a row are Shamrock Rovers. The Hoops will have to look over their shoulder as Derry City and St Patrick’s Athletic will also be vying for the title. 

Favourites to go down are newly promoted side UCD, along with Shelbourne. The teams that will be playing in Europe next season will be Shamrock Rovers, Derry City, St Patrick’s Athletic and Sligo Rovers, each of them qualifying for different competitions in Europe.  

An exciting and competitive season lies ahead. With multiple teams fighting for the league, fighting for Europe, and fighting to escape relegation, this season promises to be jam-packed. 

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