Matt Keane reports
Waterford United face a tough opening as they strive to win promotion under the guidance of manager Roddy Collins and coach Aaron O’Callaghan.
They will open up the campaign away to Drogheda United who were relegated from the Premier League last season.
The Co Louth outfit are managed by the experienced Pate Mahon and are expected to make a big push to get back into the top league at the first attempt.
That game will be played on Friday, March 4th.
The following Friday Waterford United will welcome another relegated side, Limerick to the RSC.
Martin Russell’s team are also expected to be in the mix for promotion and they have retained a lot of the players who almost pulled off a remarkable escape last term.
Two away games in Dublin then follow for the Blues. They visit UCD on Friday, March 18th. Collie O’Neill’s team just missed out on promotion last season following their excellent run of results in Europe.
Next up will be another journey to Dublin to play Cabinteely on Saturday, March 26th. Three away games from the opening four games is a rather daunting prospect but positive results from those outings would give players and supporters confidence ahead of the following 24 games. Match 5 will see Cobh Ramblers visit the RSC on Friday, April 1st. They are managed by the former Waterford United manager Stephen Henderson and in recent times have proved a difficult team to beat.
On Friday, April 8th Athlone Town will welcome the Blues to their home ground. The midlanders have had a rather troublesome few months off the park and it will be interesting to see how they will fare this season.
Shelbourne visit the RSC on Friday, April 15th. The Reds have been unable to get out of the First Division for a number of years and they will also be rated highly this time around as they finally try and get back into the top flight along with fellow Dublin clubs, St Patrick’s Athletic, Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers. The teams will play each other four times during the 28 match campaign.