Mick Cooke's LOI Premier Division predictions

Former Drogheda United and Bray Wanderers boss previews weekend games

Shamrock Rovers, League of Ireland

©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Last weekend saw Cork City drop points for the very first time this season and it means the gap at the top of the League of Ireland Premier Division is that tiny bit smaller heading into this Friday's games.

Every Thursday, former Drogheda United, Bray Wanderers and Monaghan United manager Mick Cooke casts his eyes over the fixtures to come and he's given his predictions to Newstalk.com.

Here's all your LOI fixtures for this weekend

Bray Wanderers vs Bohemians

High flying Bray still remain second but it's a different story for Bohs who have now slipped into the bottom three.

"It was a bad defeat last week at home to Shamrock Rovers," says Mick of Bohs.

"Unlike recent years, it's not the bottom two that go down but the bottom three and unfortunately Bohemians have now dropped into the bottom three and it is going to be a long season for them. I can't see them getting anything out of this game."

"Bray are in form at the moment and chasing Cork. They got an emphatic win in Ballybofey last week." 

Mick's Prediction: "I think there's no other answer here except a Bray victory from the confidence that Bray are playing with."

Cork City vs Drogheda United

Cork City surprisingly drew at Galway last week after 12 straight victories in the league but are huge favourites to defeat a Drogheda side that are only a point above the bottom three.

"It's a great opportunity for Cork to bounce back. I tipped them to win down in Galway and I thought they would keep that winning run going but obviously all good things come to an end," says Mick.

"I would think the Cork players now will be more or less relaxed. Their winning streak is gone but they're still unbeaten and I think what a great opportunity for them now to get back to winning ways.

"Drogheda were emphatically beaten by Pats last week 2-0. I think they're in for a long hard season. They will be fighting relegation." 

Prediction: "To me it's a Cork win." 

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Derry City vs Shamrock Rovers 

Only a point separates fourth placed Derry and fifth placed Rovers heading into an intriguing fixture. 

Mick says: "It's a tricky one to call. Derry have been getting results of late. It's going to take Rovers time to get their best side out and slowly but surely, I think they have eased some of the younger players in. I think they proved that last week in Dalymount."  

Prediction: "I'll go for a draw in this one." 

Galway United vs Finn Harps 

Galway and Finn Harps occupy the bottom two places in the table with the Donegal club bottom by dint of goal difference.

"Harps manager Ollie Horgan is struggling with the injuries," says Mick of Finn Harps.

"I would worry about them, having had half a decent start but they've slipped down the table.

"Galway are now unbeaten in a right few weeks and Shane Keegan is getting the right balance there. They're very hard to beat which shows in their results. They have eight draws in their 13 games and one win. They seem to be getting things together, albeit a string of draws." 

Prediction: "I will go for a home win in this game."

St Patrick's Athletic vs Sligo Rovers

St Pats are now out of the bottom three on goal difference, similarly to Sligo Rovers and a win here for either side will help put daylight between themselves and the relegation zone.  

"With a win, Pats have got out of the bottom three and are now fifth from bottom and I think they'll get another win here," says Mick.

Prediction: "A home win for Pats."

Limerick vs Dundalk

Limerick remain in the bottom half but must welcome a Dundalk side looking to close a 13 point gap to the leaders Cork City. 

Mick says: "I don't think Limerick will struggle. I don't think they will be involved in the relegation battle. The quality of player down there is very, very good," says Mick.

"But like last week, they were lucky to get a last minute equaliser against Derry City and I think Dundalk, after their emphatic win last week, will feel much more confident going to Limerick and certainly I'll go for an away win here." 

Prediction: "Dundalk to take all three points."