LOI IS BACK! Best Bets – 28/06/24

The League of Ireland returns after a summer recess. Damien Duff’s Shelbourne are the surprise league leaders going into the second half of the year while newly promoted sides Galway United and Waterford FC are shock European contenders. The battle to avoid relegation looks a ferocious one with the likes of Drogheda United, Dundalk, Bohemians and Sligo Rovers all being talked about as viable candidates for the drop.

Fresh from the summer break, LOI TV Commentator & host of Between the Stripes LOI podcast, Kieran Burke returns to deliver readers his best bets for Friday’s matches.


Dundalk appear to be turning a corner under the watch of new manager Jon Daly with the Lilywhites winning two of their final three matches before the break. A return of seven points from a possible twelve before the recess saw Dundalk climb off the bottom of the table and if they can get some good business done in the transfer window, the only way should be up for the famous Louth club.

Waterford FC were one of the surprise packages in the first half of the year with the Blues resting in a lofty fourth place during the recent break. Only second-placed Derry City have scored more goals than the Munster men this season with veteran striker PΓ‘draig Amond proving to be one of the signings of the season. Amond is 9/4 to score anytime.

The 36-year-old is proving there’s life in the old dog yet with a joint league best return of 11 goals. Dundalk go into Friday’s game boasting a remarkable recent record of eight consecutive home clean sheets but the Blues may be the team to finally breach the Dundalk defence at Oriel Park.

BEST BET: Waterford over 0.5 goals (2/5)


This looks an ideal first fixture after the break for Derry City as the leagues second-placed side with the leading home record in the division host the bottom side with the worst away record. Drogheda United’s future at this level looks in serious doubt and with a number of departures expected during the summer window, things are likely to get tougher before they get better for Kevin Doherty’s men.

The signing of Pat Hoban from Dundalk was viewed by many as Derry City adding the final piece of the jigsaw required to win an illusive league title and Hoban has certainly lived up to the billing with 11 goals so far this season.

Drogheda United boast the worst defensive record in the Premier Division and Hoban could have a field day against his old Louth rivals as a result. The Galway native is 7/2 to score anytime.

BEST BET: Derry City to win to nil (21/20)


The leagues two best defences clash at Tolka Park on Friday with Shelbourne chasing the title and Galway United a potential place in Europe next season. You would have got big prices on both of those prospects yet here we are.

Doubters of both sides point towards a lack of goals as the leading reason why neither will achieve the ultimate target this season but as long as their defences continue to perform as they have done, that won’t be a major concern for either manager.

With five wins from six matches before the break, Shelbourne are worthy favourites for Friday’s game but only Bohemians and Derry City have beaten Galway by more than a one goal margin this term. This should be a tight and nervy affair in Drumcondra.

HOT STAT: Only two of Shelbourne’s last 12 matches have featured over 2.5 goals.

BEST BET: Under 2.5 goals (2/5)


Since my three best bets this week are all at short enough prices, I will offer you my views on an outsider who may hold some value for Friday night. Kerry FC claimed almost double the amount of points in the first half of the season as they did across the entirety of last year with the improving Kingdom set to face a struggling Wexford at Mounthawk Park.

Kerry FC have claimed all of their wins at home this season, the Tralee venue is a tight and difficult place to play football, it’s very open to the elements rolling in from the surrounding mountains and the artificial playing surface is far from pristine.

Wexford failed to live up to the pre-season hype in the first half of the year, they were touted by many as being a top three side but they go into Friday’s game four points outside of the play-off places.

A five game winless run has alarm bells ringing but the bigger concern should be their defensive record. Only Cobh Ramblers and bottom side Longford have conceded more goals than Wexford this season with their lack of an experienced number one between the posts a huge issue in the first half of the campaign.

Kerry took a point off Wexford in the corresponding fixture back in late March and a fifth win of the season could be on the cards here.

DARKHORSE: Kerry FC (2/1)

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*Odds were correct at time of publishing the article