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LOI: Win Or Bust For Dundalk

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After a controversial week of cup football , Dundalk resume their title charge , knowing that realistically anything other than three victories from their final three games will see them surrender the league title to St Patrick’s Athletic , who are currently six points ahead and possess a goal difference of +17.

At the bot tom of the table , Bray Wanderers go in search of a first league win since June , one that would see them come off the bottom of the table and leapfrog Shelbourne into the relegation playoff spot.

Dundalk will be buoyed by the fact that Liam Buckley’s men face a tough tie against third placed Sligo Rovers.

Derry City –v- Shamrock Rovers    5:00

Fourth take on fifth here as Derry City host Shamrock Rovers at the Brandywell.

A goal from Rory Patterson and a brace from Michael Rafter gave Derry City a 3-1 home win over relegation threatened Shelbourne last week. That win keeps Derry in fourth place. With nothing left to play for besides pride, Derry will seek to hold down that position for the remainder of the season.

A goal from Mark Quigley and a brace from Karl Sheppard gave Shamrock Rovers a 3-0 home win over relegation battling Bray Wanderers in their last league outing. Like their opponents Shamrock Rovers have nothing to play for but pride, though manager Trevor Croly and his players will seek to finish as high as they can. Which would make them determined to win here. They will need to up their game following last week’s 3-0 FAI Cup semi final defeat at the hands of Sligo Rovers.

Prediction: Draw

Drogheda United –v- UCD   7:00

Eight placed Drogheda United take on tenth placed UCD at Hunky Dory’s Park.

A brace from Gavin Brennan gave Drogheda United a 2-2 draw with Shelbourne in their last league outing to leave the Louth side eight, a position they will more than likely hold for the remainder of the season. With the FAI Cup final on the horizon many will be using the remaining league games to play for positions which could see an improved Drogheda as the season comes to a close.

Five points clear of the relegation zone with three games left, UCD will be determined to get that all important win that will guarantee their safety for another season. Manager Martin Russell and his players enter this game on the back of three defeats in a row. Lose again and they could be drawn into the relegation battle they will be desperate to avoid.

Prediction: Draw

Bohemians –v- Dundalk    7:45

Bohemians welcome title chasing Dundalk to Dalymount Park.

Having suffered a 1-0 defeat on their last outing against Limerick , Bohemians will look to get some more points on the board here and shatter Dundalk’s title ambitions in the process. Currently in ninth place, seven points clear of the relegation zone, Bohemians are practically safe for another season. The Dublin side would like to mathematically guarantee their safety with a win here.

A hat-trick from Richie Towell gave Dundalk a 3-0 home win over Derry City on their last league outing and kept up their chase for the league title. Currently second, six points behind league leaders St Patrick’s Athletic , the Louth side cannot afford any slip ups in their remaining three fixtures. To do so would hand the league title to their Dublin rivals.

Prediction: Away win.

Bray Wanderers –v- Limerick    3:00

Relegation battling Bray Wanderers take on seventh placed Limerick at the Carlisle Grounds.

After Shelbourne lost 5-3 against Cork City on Thursday, Bray Wanderers will feel they have a great chance to lift themselves off the bottom of the table. A win here will see them move three points clear of the Dublin side with two games left. That could be enough to give them a chance at survival in a relegation play-off.

A solitary goal from Robbie Williams gave Limerick all three points last time out against Bohemians. That win has now established Limerick’s position of seventh. Manager Stuart Taylor and his side will now start preparations for next season with the intention that this newly promoted side don’t suffer from second season syndrome.

Prediction: Home win

St Patrick’s Athletic –v- Sligo Rovers     5:15

On the brink of winning their first league title in 14 years, St Patrick’s Athletic host Sligo Rovers at Richmond Park.

After the 3-1 away win over UCD last week St Patrick’s Athletic have moved a step closer to claiming the league title. The Dublin side could conceivably win the league this weekend if results go their way. Win here and the league is almost certainly Inchicore bound as only a miracle would allow Dundalk back into it. Lose and everything could be up in the air.

After qualifying for the FAI Cup final last week Sligo Rovers enter this game on a high. Much like Drogheda United , players will be playing for a starting place, but they will have to at their best as they face opponents with league glory in their sights. Ian Baraclough and his side know they face a tough game, but what better preparation is there for a cup final than that.

Prediction: Home win

The Soccer Writers’ Association of Ireland is hosting a table quiz on Tuesday October 22 (8pm) at the Baggot Inn on Dublin’s Baggot Street, with money raised at the event going to Drogheda United striker Gary O’Neill to help fund his treatment for testicular cancer.

Clubs, players past and present, officials and supporters are welcome to participate, with plenty of spot prizes up for grabs in a bumper raffle.

So if you want to test your knowledge (footballing & general) and support a great cause, head along to the Baggot Inn on Tuesday October 22.

Con Murphy (of MNS fame) will be quiz-master on the night, while entry to the quiz is €10-a-head.

Image courtesy of Independent.ie

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