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LOI: Two Games, Two Clubs, One Champion

irishfootball

And then there were two. Two games, two clubs, one champion. With the penultimate weekend of League Of Ireland now upon us we take a look at the fixtures that could define the season. Can Cork City take the title race to a final day shootout against champions elect Dundalk at Oriel Park?

The relegation battle is far from settled also so let’s see what’s at stake and who looks destined to come out on top.

Bray Wanderers –v- Dundalk    7:45

Bray Wanderers host title chasing Dundalk at the Carlisle Grounds.

Despite losing 1-0 to Shamrock Rovers last week, Bray Wanderers will be pleased that they have managed to survive for another season. They will not expect to get much out of this game but manager Alan Matthews will be determined to ensure his side are as professional as possible and make Dundalk earn any result they get.

The 0-0 draw with Shamrock Rovers midweek has allowed Cork City to close the gap in the title race. Depending on results a win here could win them the league, though it does seem that the title will be decided in the head to head clash next week. Dundalk still need a win and will most likely get it.

Prediction: Away win

Cork City –v- Bohemian FC    7:45

Title chasing Cork City play Bohemians at the 2014 Airtricity League pitch of the year Turner’s Cross.

Goals from Ross Gaynor, Billy Dennehy and a brace from Garry Buckley gave Cork City a 4-0 win over UCD last week. This win coupled with Dundalk’s draw has closed the gap at the top to one point. The season is in Cork’s hands now provided they win here, and in a once off game next week, anything can happen.

A 2-2 draw with Sligo Rovers last week keeps Bohemians eighth in the league. They can now rise as high as sixth this weekend, depending on results. Whatever happens this has been a season of improvement for Bohemians, though they have a long way to go to reclaiming their glory days of a decade ago.

Prediction: Home win

Derry City –v- UCD   7:45

Derry City play relegation battling UCD at the Brandywell Stadium.

Derry will feel disappointed with the 2-1 defeat against Limerick last week. That defeat did not help their FAI Cup final preparations. The Ulster side will be hoping for a much improved performance here and to make sure that UCD earn whatever points that they may hope to win.

A 4-0 defeat at the hands of Cork City last week did UCD’s survival hope no favours whatsoever. They will be desperate to get the elusive points that will mean their survival for another season. Lose here and depending on Athlone’s result, the first division could soon beckon.

Prediction: Home win

Drogheda United –v- Shamrock Rovers    7:45

Drogheda United take on Shamrock Rovers at Hunky Dorys Park.

A 3-2 defeat at the hands of St Patrick’s Athletic last week would have come as a disappointment to Drogheda United. Currently sitting in ninth place, the Louth side have thus far failed to match their eighth place finish of last season. Damien Richardson will have his work cut out for him if he is to get the best out of his side next season.

A solitary Sean O’Connor goal gave Shamrock Rovers a 1-0 win over Bray Wanderers last week. This along with the mid-week draw against Dundalk has ensured a good week for the Dublin side. They may have missed out on a European place, but they have improved on their performance of last season and that will please manager Pat Fenlon, who will be hoping Dublin rivals St Patrick’s Athletic can end their FAI Cup drought and in doing so grant the hoops a place in Europe next season.

Prediction: Away win

Limerick –v- Sligo Rovers    7:45

Away specialists Limerick host Sligo Rovers at Thomond Park.

Goals from Shane Duggan and Rory Gaffney gave Limerick yet another away win over Derry City last week. They are however home this week and will need to be fully motivated to get a result. Having so far matched last season’s seventh placed finish Limerick would like to go one better and achieve sixth.

Caretaker manager Gavin Dykes will have been pleased with his sides 2-2 draw with Bohemians last week. Sligo will be looking to end what has been a frustrating and inconsistent season as quickly as possible and prepare for what they hope will be a more successful campaign in 2015.

Prediction: Draw

St Patrick’s Athletic –v- Athlone Town    7:45

St Patrick’s Athletic host relegation threatened Athlone Town at Richmond Park.

Goals from Conan Byrne, Chris Fagan and an own goal gave St Patrick’s Athletic a 3-2 win over Drogheda United last week. Though they have failed to regain their league title, A European place coupled with an FAI Cup final will surely equal a successful season in the eyes of Liam Buckley and his side.

Another week, another defeat for Athlone Town. Their 3-0 defeat at the hands of Dundalk was their nineteenth this season. They can be thankful that UCD’s bad form has thus far prevented them from taking advantage. Athlone will hope that they have enough either this week or next to get the one result that will save them from automatic relegation and first division football next season.

Prediction: Home win

Into League Of Ireland? Check out this upcoming supporters workshop that takes place on FAI Cup final weekend and is free to attend. Help make a difference and have your voice heard.

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