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LOI: Cork Aim To Turn Up The Heat On Dundalk

irishfootball

Athlone Town –v- Shamrock Rovers    7:45

Bottom side Athlone Town face Shamrock Rovers at the Athlone Town Stadium.

23 games in and Athlone Town must now be preparing for life in the first division next season. The 3-1 defeat away to Sligo Rovers last week was their 17th defeat this campaign. Athlone will now be playing for pride and hope this dreadful season can be forgotten before trying to earn promotion once again next season.

Pat Fenlon will be pleased with his start at Shamrock Rovers. His side managed a 2-0 home win over Derry City last week. The former Hibernian manager will now spend the rest of the season ensuring his team finish as high as they can, while assessing what’s needed for the Dublin side to really challenge for the league next season.

Prediction: Away win

Bohemian FC –v- Drogheda United    7:45

Eighth versus ninth play here, as Bohemians play Drogheda United at Dalymount Park.

Bohemians will have been disappointed that they only managed a 0-0 draw with UCD last week. That draw saw them miss the chance to move up the table. Win here and they remove any chance of being sucked into a relegation battle. Lose and everything is up in the air.

Unlike their opponents Drogheda will be extremely pleased with their result last week. The 1-1 draw with league leaders Dundalk was unexpected and extremely welcome. Much like Bohemians a win here could prevent a relegation battle, something Owen Heary and his side will be determined to avoid.

Prediction: Draw

Bray Wanderers –v- Sligo Rovers    7:45

Struggling Bray Wanderers play Sligo Rovers at the Carlisle Grounds.

A 4-1 away defeat against Limerick last week has left Bray Wanderers sitting in the relegation play-off position. The Wicklow side face an arduous task to get a result here but Alan Matthews will have ensured that his side are fully prepared and reminded them of the consequences of a defeat.

A goal from John Russell and a brace from Evan McMillan gave Sligo Rovers a 3-1 win over Athlone Town last week. Though that win keeps them fifth, there is very little to play for in the league for Sligo. John Coleman will continue using the remaining campaign as a transitional period and then really challenge next year.

Prediction: Away win

Derry City –v- Cork City    7:45

Derry City host title chasing Cork City at the Brandywell Stadium.

A 2-0 defeat against Shamrock Rovers last week has left Derry sitting comfortably in sixth place. While unlikely to match their fourth placed finish of last season, Derry will be looking to pip Sligo Rovers and finish fifth. They face tough opposition here but more than capable of beating any team in the league on their day.

A late Colin Healy goal gave Cork City a crucial 1-0 win over St Patrick’s Athletic last week. That win has left them four points behind Dundalk with ten games to go. Cork cannot afford to drop points at such a crucial stage of the season and John Caulfield will be doing everything he can to ensure that they don’t.

Prediction: Away win

Dundalk –v- Limerick    7:45

League leaders Dundalk face in form Limerick at Oriel Park.

The 1-1 draw with local rivals Drogheda United last week would have come as a disappointment to Dundalk. Despite that result they remain top of the league with a four point lead. Limerick will prove tough opposition but if Dundalk are to win their first league title since 1995 then these are they games they need to win.

A goal from Lee Lynch and a hat-trick from Rory Gaffney gave Limerick an impressive 4-1 home win against Bray Wanderers last week. This week’s opposition will prove to be a much tougher challenge and Limerick will have to be at their resilient best to get a positive result.

Prediction: Home win

St Patrick’s Athletic –v- UCD    8:00

St Patrick’s Athletic play struggling UCD at Richmond Park.

The 1-0 defeat to Cork City last week has all but ended St Patrick’s Athletics title hopes. That defeat has left them ten points behind league leaders Dundalk. The Dublin side will now compete with Shamrock Rovers for a European place, whilst Liam Buckley and his side prepare for a better challenge next season.

The 0-0 draw with Bohemians last week did UCD no favours. The still sit in tenth position, a superior goal difference keeping them out of the relegation play-off position. They could find themselves in that position if they don’t manage a result here, something which seems likely given their inability to score goals.

Prediction: Home win

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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