Search

17 May 2022

Our expert panel give their verdict ahead of SSE Airtricity League 2022 campaign

Our expert panel give their verdict on SSE Airtricity League 2022?

Derry's Ronan Boyce at the launch of the SSE Airtricity Premier & First Division and Women's National League 2022 season. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

“The only two certainties in life are death and taxes,” so goes a much used quotation from Mark Twain - although it effectively first coined in 1716 by author Christopher Bullock.

But when it comes to the 2022 SSE Airtricity League Premier Division, there would appear to be two more certainties.

One is that Shamrock Rovers are going to win the title - again - in 2022. The other is that newly promoted UCD are going to finish bottom and get relegated.

That is the unanimous verdict of our soccer pundits when asked to predict the placings for the season ahead.

From a Finn Harps’ perspective, the general consensus is that they will finish in seventh, eighth or ninth spot - so the worst case scenario is a relegation play-off.

Harps boss Ollie Horgan may well take that - even at this stage. With such a vast turnover of players, he readily admits that he has been forced to take a “big gamble” on bringing in so many new faces, and especially those from abroad who are not au fait with the League of Ireland. How they will settle in and adapt is the big question.

Most observers feel that the scrap to avoid the drop will feature Harps, Drogheda United and UCD, with Shelbourne possibly in the mix as well.

At the top, if Rovers don’t emerge with the silverware again, big spending Derry City look to be their biggest threat.

Dundalk, St. Patrick’s Athletic, Bohemians and Sligo Rovers may well be the four teams scrapping it out for the European places.

Indeed, there is a strong argument to suggest that there will eventually be three mini-leagues within the league.

There is a bit more diversity when it comes to predicting who will win the FAI Cup. Rovers are not fancied to do a double, which may be no bad thing. Derry City would appear to be well fancied for this honour, but even Shelbourne get one vote here.

James Akintunde modelling Derry City FC's new Home Kit. Photo by Diarmuid Greene

Likewise, it’s a mixed bag of predictions regarding who will win Division One.

And when it comes to a player to watch out for, again there are several different suggestions.

Harps begin their league campaign this Friday at home to Drogheda United, while their first away trip is against UCD on Friday, February 25.

Interestingly, their final two league fixtures are home to UCD on October 28 and away to Drogheda on November 4.

Those matches could well be the proverbial six-pointers that decides who goes down and who ends up in the relegation play-off.

Let the season begin.

WHO WILL COME OUT ON TOP . . . WHAT THE EXPERTS PREDICT . . . 

GARY FERRY - SPORTS EDITOR, DERRY NEWS

2022 Premier Division Prediction: 1. Shamrock Rovers; 2. Derry City; 3. Bohemians; 4. Dundalk; 5. St. Patrick's Athletic; 6. Sligo Rovers; 7. Shelbourne; 8. Finn Harps; 9. Drogheda United; 10. UCD

2022 FAI Cup winners: Derry City

Player to watch out for: Jamie McGonigle (Derry City)

Division One winners: Waterford

PAUL BUTTNER - NATIONAL FREELANCE SOCCER REPORTER

2022 Premier Division Prediction: 1. Shamrock Rovers; 2. Derry City; 3. St Patrick’s Athletic; 4. Dundalk; 5. Bohemians; 6. Sligo Rovers; 7. Shelbourne; 8. Finn Harps; 9. Drogheda United; 10. UCD

2022 FAI Cup winners: Derry City

Player to watch out for: Collie Whelan (UCD)

Division One winners: Waterford

CHRIS McNULTY - DONEGAL DEMOCRAT/DONEGAL LIVE 

2022 Premier Division Prediction: 1. Shamrock Rovers; 2. Derry City; 3. Dundalk; 4. St Patrick’s Athletic; 5. Bohemians; 6. Sligo Rovers; 7. Shelbourne; 8. Finn Harps; 9. Drogheda United; 10. UCD

2022 FAI Cup winners: Derry City

Players to watch out for: Matty Smith (Derry)

Division One winners: Cork City

DIARMAID DOHERTY - ASSISTANT EDITOR, DONEGAL DEMOCRAT

2022 Premier Division Prediction: 1. Shamrock Rovers; 2. Derry City; 3. St Patrick's Athletic; 4. Dundalk; 5. Sligo Rovers; 6. Bohemians; 7. Finn Harps; 8. Shelbourne; 9. Drogheda United; 10. UCD

2022 Cup winners: Sligo Rovers

Player to watch out for: Mark Doyle (St Pat's)

First Division Winners: Galway United

ADRIAN EAMES - RTE SPORT

2022 Premier Division Prediction: 1. Shamrock Rovers; 2. Dundalk; 3. Derry City; 4. St. Patrick’s Athletic; 5. Sligo Rovers; 6. Shelbourne; 7. Bohemians; 8. Finn Harps; 9. Drogheda United; 10. UCD

2022 FAI Cup winners: Derry City

Player to watch out for: Jamie McGonigle (Derry City)

Division One winners: Waterford FC

Derry City's Jamie McGonigle

CHRIS ASHMORE - EDITOR, DONEGAL DEMOCRAT

2022 Premier Division Prediction: 1. Shamrock Rovers; 2. Dundalk; 3. Derry City; 4. Bohemians; 5. St. Patrick’s Athletic; 6. Sligo Rovers; 7. Shelbourne; 8. Finn Harps; 9. Drogheda Utd; 10. UCD

2022 FAI Cup winners: Bohemians

Player to watch out for: José Carrillo (Finn Harps)

Division One winners: Galway United

OWEN COWZER - FOOTBALL CORRESPONDENT, IRISH SUN

2022 Premier Division Prediction: 1. Shamrock Roves; 2. Derry City; 3. St Patrick's Athletic; 4. Dundalk; 5. Shelbourne; 6. Bohemians; 7. Sligo Rovers; 8. Drogheda United; 9. Finn Harps; 10. UCD

2022 FAI Cup winners: St Patrick's Athletic

Player to watch out for: Liam Kerrigan (UCD)

Division One winners: Galway United

AIDAN FITZMAURICE - SOCCER CORRESPONDENT, THE HERALD

2022 Premier Division Prediction: 1. Shamrock Rovers; 2. St Patrick's Athletic; 3. Derry City; 4. Bohemians; 5. Dundalk; 6. Sligo; 7. Shelbourne; 8. Drogheda Utd; 9. Finn Harps; 10. UCD

2022 FAI Cup winners: Bohemians

Player to watch out for: Brandon Kavanagh (Derry)

Division One winners: Waterford

MICHAEL SCULLY - CHIEF SPORTS WRITER, IRISH DAILY MIRROR

2022 Premier Division Prediction: 1. Shamrock Rovers; 2. Derry City; 3. St. Patrick’s Athletic; 4. Dundalk; 5. Shelbourne; 6. Sligo Rovers; 7. Bohemians; 8. Drogheda United; 9. Finn Harps; 10. UCD

2022 FAI Cup winners: Derry City

Player to watch out for: Darragh Burns (St Pat's)

Division One winners: Waterford

ERIC WHITE - SPORTS BROADCASTER, BBC RADIO FOYLE/BBC SPORT NI

2022 Premier Division Prediction: 1. Shamrock Rovers; 2. Derry City; 3. Dundalk; 4. St. Patrick’s Athletic; 5. Bohemians; 6. Sligo Rovers; 7. Shelbourne; 8. Drogheda United; 9. Finn Harps; 10. UCD

FAI Cup winners: Derry City

Player to watch out for: Will Patching (Derry City)

Division One winners: Waterford

PAUL LENNON - SOCCER CORRESPONDENT, THE IRISH STAR

2022 Premier Division Prediction: 1. Shamrock Rovers; 2. St Patrick's athletic; 3. Derry City; 4. Sligo Rovers; 5. Bohemians; 6. Dundalk; 7. Shelbourne; 8. Drogheda Utd; 9. Finn Harps; 10. UCD

2022 FAI Cup winners: Derry City

Player to watch out for: Dawson Devoy (Bohemians)

Division One winners: Galway Utd

STUART CONNOLLY - EXTRATIME.COM/FREELANCE

2022 Premier Division Prediction: 1. Shamrock Rovers; 2. St. Patrick's Athletic; 3. Dundalk; 4. Bohemians; 5. Derry City; 6. Sligo Rovers; 7. Finn Harps; 8. Shelbourne; 9. Drogheda United; 10. UCD

2022 FAI Cup winners: St. Patrick's Athletic

Player to watch out for: Joseph Anang (St. Patrick's Athletic)

Division One winners: Treaty United

KIERAN McGRATH - ADMINSTRATOR SOCCER DONEGAL FACEBOOK PAGE, LETTERKENNY ROVERS PRO, FIXTURES SECRETARY DONEGAL YOUTH AND SCHOOLBOYS LEAGUE

2022 Premier Division Prediction: 1. Shamrock Rovers; 2. St Patrick's Athletic; 3. Derry City; 4. Dundalk; 5. Bohemians; 6. Shelbourne; 7. Sligo Rovers; 8. UCD; 9. Finn Harps; 10. Drogheda

2022 FAI Cup winners: Shelbourne

Player to watch out for: Eoin Doyle (St Pat’s)

Division One winners: Cork City

To continue reading this article for FREE,
please kindly register and/or log in.


Registration is absolutely 100% FREE and will help us personalise your experience on our sites. You can also sign up to our carefully curated newsletter(s) to keep up to date with your latest local news!

Register / Login

Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.