With the new season in the country’s top intermediate league almost upon us, we preview each club to assess their chances for the term ahead.
Last Season: 3rd
The John Scott trained side have added a number of players to their squad in the close season, but are not expected to repeat last seasons third place finish. The likes of Andrew Dunne, Josh Douglas and former Crumlin player Jordan McNeill have been recruited and Celtic will be quietly confident they can build on last season’s impressive campaign. However, most believe the only second place they can achieve is in a mini league between the two Crumlin based outfits.
Last Season 2nd
Like Liverpool did in the English top tier, Bluebell dominated the Intermediate leading league in the 80’s, and there are those predicting they could end the drought this year. Former LOI and under-age international Trevor Molloy now wears the Blue of ‘Bell and could prove vital in as they push for their first league crown since 1987. First, however, they have the small matter for a FAI Cup third round lash with Cup holders Derry City to contend with.
Last Season 1st
The Champions haven’t rested on their laurels and have recruited no fewer than six players, but have lost Niall Cooney and Derek Doyle to the LOI. However, changes in personnel won’t result in a change in performance level if the bookies are believed. Crumlin are still favourites to retain the crown in both the odds makers and pundits eyes.
Last Season 12th
It was more a case of four leaf clover than Firhouse Clover on the final day of last season for the Tallaght side. The three up three down system now employed throughout the leagues will concern the Tallaght IT based side, but if they reproduce their Cahill Cup winning form, they should finish safe again.
Last Season 9th
There is a real LOI feel to Malahide United this term. Respected League of Ireland manager Pete Mahon has joined former Dublin City manager John Gill’s back room team. They have the best facilities in the League and have enjoyed a positive pre season, but they will have to improve significantly if they are to better last seasons mid table finish.
Last Season 10th
After 27 years at Tolka Rovers Jason Kelly makes the short trip from Cooke Park to Fingal. He takes over Pheonix this term and has chopped and changed the squad. Five players have left and six have come in as the new coach attempts to make his mark on the squad.
Last Season 2nd
Having finished second last term (alongside Bluebell) the Ballyfermot side would have been confident of mounting a serious challenge this season. However, an off season of turmoil has raised some doubts. Manager Paul Doyle has uprooted and moved to Tolka Rovers and taken with him some key Orchard contributors including Lee Dixon, Dennis Moran and Paddy Collins as well as the Hughes brothers. Former Blackburn trainee Graham Cassin takes over at the helm and the famous club will challenge, but whether they have enough about them to finish top of the talented pile remains to be seen.
Last Season- Senior 1 winners
Tom Carroll Cup Final and Senior 1 winners Leixlip are being tipped to have a successful LSL Senior Sunday season. Despite being newly promoted they are sixth in the running for the title according tot he bookies.
Last Season 6th
Paul Kelly’s side ‘North could be heading South this term according to some in the know. They are second favourite for the drop in what is now a three horse race. They have added to a squad that finished sixth last term and have only lost Darren McCann, but most predict they could be involved in a relegation scrap.
Last Season 5th
Rovers have been backed by a number of the league’s managers to end Crumlin’s dominance this season, including their own. Paul Doyle has moved from Cherry Orchard and made some significant signings prompting a number of pundits to predict a more successful season than last awaits the Cooke Park natives.
Last Season 2nd in Senior 1
Having narrowly missed out on promotion in the 2011/12 season UCD finally secured Senior Sunday status last season. . However, having gained a place in the LSL top tier they have lost former LOI player Stephen Doyle to Lexilip following the departure of chief goal scorer Niall Daly. Danny Fallon does return from Erasmus in Spain.
Last Season 7th
The Boys In Green enjoyed a successful season last term. A solid seventh place finish was followed by a LSL Metro Cup win and things look positive for the coming campaign. Glenn Keddy, Ed McDonnagh, Ger Pender and Ryan Matthews have all joined Pete Lennon’s squad and there is the small matter of a Lensiter Senior Cup quarter final with Bray Wanders to look forward to.
St Patricks CY Ringsend
Former Celtic player Declan Roche takes over the reigns at another side who had to battle to avoid the drop last year. CY have kept the bulk of last season’s squad, and have freshened things up with some good additions to an already robust group.
Sacred Heart are relishing their surprise LSL Senior shot having been gifted a place in the Intermediate top rung for the first time in their history after Mount Merrion opted against keeping their senior status. Speaking to Target manager Paul McMahon said “The three down rule is best thing the league could have done. It will mean the middling bunch will have a lot more to play for come March-April time.”