thumbnail Hello,
Goal's Airtricity Premier Division Team of the Season

Goal's Airtricity Premier Division Team of the Season

Diarmuid Greene

St Patrick's Athletic predictably dominate the best XI from the 2013 season but runners-up Dundalk have representation after a fine campaign from Stephen Kenny's men

St Patrick's Athletic ended a spell of 14 years without a league title to lift the Airtricity Premier Division trophy with two games remaining in the season. Throughout the campaign, the Saints were one of the most consistent sides, with strong performances coming from every area of the pitch.

Brendan Clarke was rarely beaten in the Saints net, but misses out on a spot in the Goal Airtricity Premier Division Team of the Season thanks to Barry Ryan's heroics further down the table. The Clare-born keeper was a Saint between 2005 and 2008, but after helping Limerick to promotion last season, continued to pull off excellent saves which was a major factor in keeping them in the top flight for another year.

St Pat's back four conceded just 20 goals all season, thanks in no small part to Kenny Browne at centre-back and Ian Bermingham on the left. Browne formed an excellent partnership with captain Conor Kenna at the heart of the Pat's defence, while Bermingham continued to improve as a player, growing more confident at the attacking side of his game thanks to the quality down the line in front of him.

Dundalk were the dark horses of the division, surprising many with a second-place finish under new manager Stephen Kenny. The former Hoops boss made some shrewd signings at the start of the season, one of the best was centre-back Andy Boyle, who had been decent if unspectacular at Shelbourne, but was the model of consistency for the Lilywhites.

Simon Madden renewed his Derry City contract at the end of last season due to the fact that European football was on offer, but with a fourth-place finish in the table, the Candystripes may not be able to promise him the same next year. The full-back would be a huge loss if he leaves, as he was tremendous for Derry, putting in tireless shifts each and every game.

Liam Buckley had plenty of strength in the centre of the park as well as up front, and his title-winning campaign was built not just on a sturdy defence, but also on a confident, passing game which looked to prise open opposition defences. Killian Brennan quickly became a fan favourite at Richmond Park, chipping in eight goals from midfield while also creating many more. Conan Byrne got nine of his own as he was given far more freedom to get forward than at Shelbourne last season.

Stephen Kenny unearthed another gem in Richie Towell, with the Celtic and Hibernian defender becoming an all-round midfielder at the Lilywhites. Towell showed confidence and ability beyond his years as he became the lynchpin of the Dundalk team.

Cork City finished comfortably in mid-table, and never looked like either challengers or relegation fodder. However, they did provide much entertainment for the Turners Cross faithful, with Daryl Horgan earning the biggest ovations from the home fans. The 21-year-old showed glimpes of promise in the last few seasons, but delivered consistently this year.

With Gary Twigg gone north to play in the Irish League, many fans wondered who would fill the void as the league's top scorer. The answer was a somewhat unlikely one, with Rory Patterson emerging from the early contenders to net 18 in his second season at Derry City.

Just behind in second-place was Dundalk hitman Patrick Hoban, who made the step up from Mervue United with relative ease, having his best return with 14 goals. Hoban has signed on at Oriel Park for another season, and the 22-year-old will be expected to repeat the feat next year - although few will expect him to score another goal as impressive as the overhead kick he bagged against Cork in the second last game of the season.






From the web