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Sunday 20 August 2017

Shels not shocked over league

Shels boss Owen Heary. Pic: Sportsfile
Shels boss Owen Heary. Pic: Sportsfile

Shelbourne supporters will shake off the cobwebs and get back to supporting their side tonight after the mid-season break.

But enthusiasm will be hard to muster for all concerned at Tolka Park as the Reds, like 70% of the teams in the second tier, have nothing to play for between now and October, unless they can go on a run in the FAI Cup.

Fifteen games into the season, Waterford are - as expected - top of the pile. But Cobh Ramblers and UCD are not so far away and are in contention for the sole promotion slot.

Yet with the removal of the play-off route, the rest of the division have nothing to play for, a factor that was predicted by most observers, and in fact the only plus is that Waterford have not run away with the league as Limerick did last season (Waterford are now two points ahead, while this time 12 months ago Limerick were 19 points clear).

That's a frustration for managers like Shels boss Owen Heary.

"We are well out of it in the league, we will keep being professional and we have two cups to play for, but the league situation is a big frustration," says Heary.

"If there was a play-off spot we could at least aim for that, but with only one team going up, the league is over for us. We are still in the Leinster Senior Cup and we have the FAI Cup to come so maybe we can have a good run.

"I think it's a pity that the Premier Division is heading for a 10-team league. We had that before in the Premier and it didn't work, we have that now in the First Division and it doesn't work, fans aren't interested as it's the same teams all the time."

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