As the new League of Ireland season arrives, Stuey Byrne has picked his title favourite

Dan McDonnell and Richie McCormack preview the new season with him on Off The Ball

League of Ireland

Pictured from (L-R) Ryan Connolly (Galway United) Derek Wilkinson (Finn Harps) Ryan McBride (Derry City) Kurtis Byrne (Bohemians) Kieran Sadlier (Sligo Rovers) John Dunleavy (Cork City) Stephen O'Donnell (Dundalk) Ger O'Brien (St. Patrick's Athletic) Conor Kenna (Bray Wanderers) Conor Powell (Longford Town) Harry Cornally (Shamrock Rovers) and Graham Doyle (Wexford Youths) Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

As the new League of Ireland season prepares for lift-off, ex-Shelbourne midfielder Stuart Byrne is tipping Cork City to move up from consecutive runner-up finishes to champions.

Meanwhile, The Irish Independent's Dan McDonnell and Off The Ball's Richie McCormack picked Dundalk and Cork respectively on tonight's show.

"I think Cork could do it," said Stuey. "I think it will be very close but I think they could."

Dundalk, of course are back-to-back reigning league champions, but Stuey believes Richie Towell's departure to Brighton "has left huge gap in team" as manager Stephen Kenny is left with the challenge of finding a way of replacing the 25 league goals he plundered from midfield last season.

Stuey feels the Lilywhites needs an 18-19 goal striker to retain the league for a third season in succession.

Meanwhile, Richie believes Cork "have bought particularly well" in the off-season, although Dan believes they could face "an adjustment period" as the new crop of players settle in.

Shamrock Rovers and Saint Patrick's Athletic have alternated as third and fourth in the last couple of seasons in a period where the league has had a relatively settled 'Top 4 versus the rest', Dan thinks they can challenge for honours.

As for Pats, Stuey likes the look of the new signings and that Keith Treacy's fitness could be key.

The lads also looked at the teams that will hope to break into the Top 4 and the newcomers Finn Harps and Wexford Youths.