St Pat’s to open league defence away to Cork City
Athlone face tough return to top flight against Sligo
St Patrick’s Athletic captain Conor Kenna lifts the Airtricity League Premier Division Trophy. Photograph: : Matt Browne/Sportsfile
League champions St Patrick’s Athletic will begin the defence of their Airtricity Premier Division title at Turner’s Cross when they face John Caulfield’s Cork City. The sides met at the same venue in the final game of the 2013 season with Cork winning 4-2 after the Dublin side had already wrapped up the title.
New Derry City manager Roddy Collins, who led Athlone Town to the First Division title last season, will open his reign with an away game against one of his former clubs, Shamrock Rovers.
It has also been confirmed that a Shamrock Rovers ‘B’ team will take part in the First Division of the Airtricity after the amalgamation of the Galway clubs.
The first series of matches on March7th and 8th will feature a Louth derby as Drogheda United, runners-up in 2012, host Dundalk who were runners-up in 2013. The sides last met in the FAI Ford Cup semi-final when Drogheda defeated Dundalk 1-0.
Athlone, who are back in the Premier Division after 18 consecutive seasons in the First Division, mark their return to the top flight with an away game against FAI Ford Cup holders Sligo Rovers at The Showgrounds on Saturday, March 8th.
Athlone will stage the first ever Premier Division match at Athlone Town Stadium a week later, on Friday, March 14th, when they welcome Shamrock Rovers.
As in 2013, the first Dublin derby of the new season will feature UCD against Bohemians, with The UCD Bowl the venue in 2014, while Limerick will kick off against a Bray Wanderers side that will be starting their 10th successive season in the top flight.
The mid-season break will take place from June 14th until June 26th inclusive and the Premier Division season will conclude on Friday, October 24th.
The First Division fixtures for the will be issued in January.
Airtricity League Premier Division 2014
Opening round of fixtures
Friday, March 7th (7.45pm unless stated)
Cork City v St Patrick’s Athletic, Turner’s Cross
Drogheda United v Dundalk, United Park
Limerick v Bray Wanderers, Thomond Park
UCD v Bohemians, The UCD Bowl
Shamrock Rovers v Derry City, Tallaght Stadium, 8.0
Saturday, March 8th
Sligo Rovers v Athlone Town, The Showgrounds, 7.45pm