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LOI: Title Challengers Can’t Afford To Slip Up

irishfootball

Athlone Town –v- Dundalk    7:45

Bottom versus top here as Athlone Town host Dundalk at the Athlone Town Stadium.

A 4-2 defeat against Limerick last week kept Athlone Town from lifting themselves off the bottom of the table. That defeat leaves them one point behind UCD with three games to go. They face the arduous task of getting a result against the league leaders here and with St Pat’s next, there may not be enough time to gain survival.

Having not had had a league game since the 2-0 win over UCD, Dundalk will look to pick up where they left off as they head into the final stretch.  With difficult games against Shamrock Rovers and Cork City still to come, Dundalk will need to be at their best to win their first league title since 1995. All that will be irrelevant if they fail to win here.

Prediction: Away win

Bohemian FC –v- Sligo Rovers    7:45

A mid-table clash here as Bohemians play Sligo Rovers at Dalymount Park.

A 3-1 defeat at the hands of St Patrick’s Athletic last week would have been disappointing for Bohemians but ineffective in terms of their league standing. Like most clubs they are playing the season out and for pride. A win here could lift them to sixth and that may be all the motivation they need.

Goals from Eamon Zayed, Gary Armstrong, Paul O’Conor and Daniel Ledwith gave Sligo Rovers a 4-0 win over UCD last week. That win keeps them fifth. Like their opponents Sligo are playing out the season, but will wish to finish as high as possible.

Verdict: Draw

Derry City –v- Limerick    7:45

FAI Cup finalists Derry City host Limerick at the Brandywell.

Now that the FAI Cup has become the priority Derry City will spend the last three games preparing for it. Players will be playing for positions and hoping to avoid injury. They will look to finish the season as high as they can and a win here against Limerick will be a good start.

A brace each from Rory Gaffney and Kieran Djilali gave Limerick a 4-2 home win over Athlone Town last week. Form however shows that Limerick much prefer to play away and that statistic alone would suggest that Derry City are in for an uncomfortable evening. A win could lift Limerick as high as seventh, something they will no doubt wish to achieve.

Verdict: Away win

Drogheda United –v- St Patrick’s Athletic    7:45

Drogheda United play St Patrick’s Athletic at Hunky Dorys Park.

After suffering a 2-1 defeat against Cork City last week Drogheda will look to bounce back and rise as high sixth place with a win here. It’s been an inconsistent season for the Louth side, though manager Damien Richardson and his side will be pleased that their dreadful mid-season form has become a thing of the past and will now look to finish the season on a high.

With one eye now firmly fixed on the FAI Cup final St Patrick’s Athletic will need to be careful if they wish to have European football at Richmond Park next season. One more win should be enough and manager Liam Buckley will no doubt encourage competition for places in the final if only to ensure his side keep their competitive edge.

Verdict: Away win

UCD –v- Cork City    7:45

Relegation battling UCD, take on title chasing Cork City at the UCD Bowl.

A 4-0 defeat against Sligo Rovers last week did UCD’s survival chances no favours. Only one point separates them from automatic relegation. With the worst goal scoring record and the worst defensive record in the league, UCD may need to put all their hopes on Athlone screwing up to give themselves a chance at survival.

Goals from John Dunleavy and Mark O’Sullivan were enough to give Cork City a crucial 2-1 win over Drogheda United and continue to put pressure on league leaders Dundalk. Cork will know they cannot afford to slip up once if they are to have any chance of winning their first league title since 2005.

Verdict: Away win

Shamrock Rovers –v- Bray Wanderers    8:00

Shamrock Rovers play host to Bray Wanderers at Tallaght Stadium.

Goals from Ryan Brennan, Sean O’Connor and Gary McCabe gave Shamrock Rovers a 3-0 win over UCD in their last fixture on September 30. That win keeps up the slim hope of Rovers finishing third and enjoying European football next season. They will look to keep up that pressure by going for a win here and will fully expect to get it.

Having managed to get enough points to survive for another season Bray Wanderers have spent the last several weeks playing the season out. Manager Alan Matthews will be content to know that his side have bettered their 11th placed finish last season, and will be planning ahead to better it even further next season.

Verdict: Shamrock Rovers

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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