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LOI: Top Two Ready For Battle

irishfootball

Bray Wanderers –v- Athlone Town    7:45

Two struggling sides face off as Bray Wanderers play Athlone Town at the Carlisle Grounds.

Another week, another defeat for Bray Wanderers. Their 5-1 defeat at the hands of Dundalk last week was their twelfth this season. More worrying is the manner of the defeat as Bray have conceded 13 goals in their last three games. Alan Matthews and his side need a win and quickly and will see this game as a perfect opportunity to get it.

The 2-0 defeat against St Patrick’s Athletic was Athlone Towns 16th this season. That defeat has left them rooted to the bottom of table and six points from safety. If Athlone are to have any chance of surviving they need to start beating the teams around them, so taking all three points here is an absolute must.

Prediction: Draw

Cork City –v- Dundalk    7:45

First take on second here as Dundalk play Cork City at Turner’s Cross.

The 2-0 defeat to Bohemians last week left Cork City in second place, three points off the top. They now have the chance to narrow the gap and put real pressure on Dundalk. Manager John Caulfield and his side know that this is a must win game. Lose and the gap becomes six points and momentum is lost.

A goal from Richie Towell and braces from Kurtis Byrne and Patrick Hoban gave Dundalk an emphatic 5-1 win over Bray Wanderers last week to cement their position on top of the league. The Louth side will now look to open up a bigger gap and administer a psychological blow on their opponents. They face a tough ask away from home, but it’s these games that make or break championship campaigns.

Prediction: Away win

Derry City –v- Bohemians    7:45

A mid-table clash here, as Derry City play Bohemians at the Brandywell Stadium.

A goal from Barry Molloy, a brace from Rory Patterson and a hat-trick from Michael Duffy gave Derry City a 6-1 away win over UCD last week. That win leaves them in a comfortable sixth place. The task now for Peter Hutton and his players is to finish as high in the league as possible. A win here would be the perfect place to start.

Goals from Steven Beattie and Eoin Wearen gave Bohemians an excellent 2-0 win over title challengers Cork City last week. That victory leaves them seventh. A strong win here could lift them into sixth, a result which manager Owen Heary and his players have every intention of getting.

Prediction: Home win

Drogheda United –v- UCD    7:45

Drogheda United host relegation threatened UCD at Hunky Dory’s Park.

A solitary Gavin Holohan goal gave Drogheda United a much needed and confidence boosting win over Shamrock Rovers last week, with the clean sheet proving just as important as the three points. The Louth side have the leakiest defence in the league and a shutout was just what the needed. Offer the same result to Drogheda here and they’ll bite your hand off.

A 6-1 defeat against Derry City last week was just what UCD were hoping to avoid. Sitting in tenth, one place above the relegation zone, UCD will be hoping to find the late season form that has helped them avoid relegation for two years running. Failure to find this form will see the students playing first division football next season.

Prediction: Draw

Limerick –v- Shamrock Rovers    7:45

Limerick play title hopefuls Shamrock Rovers at Thomond Park.

The 2-0 defeat at the hands of Sligo Rovers last week would have disappointing for Limerick. That defeat leaves them ninth, three points from safety. In order to avoid a relegation battle Limerick need points on the board and fast. Martin Russell will be determined to get the best out of his players help them survive for another year.

Shamrock Rovers would have been bitterly disappointed with the 1-0 home defeat against Drogheda United last week. That defeat saw them drop to fourth, nine points from top spot. Having been under heavy criticism this week manager Trevor Croly will be determined to get a response from his players and really have a go at pushing Dundalk all the way.

Prediction: Away win

St Patricks Athletic –v- Sligo Rovers    7:45

Title chasing St Patrick’s Athletic play Sligo Rovers at Richmond Park.

Goals from Chris Forrester and Sean Hoare gave St Patrick’s Athletic a 2-0 away win against Athlone Town last week. That win lifted them to third on goal difference and leaves them nine points behind Dundalk. Liam Buckley and his side know that can’t afford to drop points if they are to have any chance of retaining their league title.

Goals from Sean Maguire and Danny North helped Sligo Rovers to a 2-0 win over Limerick last week. That result kept them in fifth, two points clear of the teams above them. Sligo’s main goal now will be to finish as high as possible and give new manager John Coleman a chance to settle in and assess everything before having a real go at the league next year.

Prediction: Home win

 Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

 

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