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LOI: Dundalk Host Cork In Final Day Title Showdown

irishfootball

And so it all comes down to this. One match, two potential champions but there can only be one winner. Last week’s results surprisingly tipped the title race in Cork’s favour as Dundalk stumbled to a draw in Bray. Now Dundalk must tilt the momentum back in their favour with a shooutout against the rebel army or else their successful season will be nothing more than another year served as the nearly men. Issues at the bottom are also still far from settled so with that in mind let’s take a look at the final round of fixtures.

Athlone Town –v- Bray Wanderers    7:45

With their last chance of survival on the line Athlone Town host Bray Wanderers at the Athlone Town Stadium.

Goals from Philip Gorman and Kealan Dillon where enough to give Athlone Town a crucial 2-0 away win over St Patrick’s Athletic last week. That result however, was not enough to lift Athlone off the bottom of the table. They enter this game knowing that they have to win. Anything else will see them drop straight back down to the first division.

Bray will be pleased with their 1-1 draw with Dundalk last week. They had their say in the title race and now want a say in the relegation battle. Their professionalism will ensure that they make things difficult for Athlone and force them to earn anything else.

Prediction: Home win

Bohemian FC –v- Derry City    7:45

Bohemians play Derry City at Dalymount Park.

A 1-0 defeat to Cork City would not have dampened what has been a good season for Bohemians. Currently in eighth, two places higher than last season, Bohs manager Owen Heary will be pleased with their progress and will be hoping for much of the same next season.

After a surprise 1-0 defeat to UCD last week Derry City will be hoping to utilise their last game before the FAI Cup final. Manager Peter Hutton will now need to decide whether to rest players, try new tactics or is it just a case of getting this game out of the way as soon as possible.

Prediction: Home win

Dundalk –v- Cork City    7:45

The biggest game of the season takes place at Oriel Park as Dundalk play Cork City in a championship showdown.

The 1-1 draw with Bray Wanderers last week will have come as a huge surprise to Dundalk. That result caused them to slip down to second, a point behind their opponents. The Louth side will enter this game knowing that it’s a must win. Anything else and it’s season over but with home field advantage Dundalk will really fancy their chances.

A lone Billy Dennehy goal was enough to give Cork a 1-0 win over Bohemians last week and take the top spot. They enter this game knowing that if they avoid defeat then they will have their first league title in a decade. Cork will know the difficulties of facing Dundalk at home but will feel confident that they have what it takes.

Prediction: Draw

Shamrock Rovers –v- Limerick    7:45

Shamrock Rovers take on Limerick at Tallaght Stadium.

Goals from Ciaran Kilduff and Sean O’Connor gave Shamrock Rovers a 2-0 win over Drogheda United last week. That win was not enough to earn them a chance of European football next season. A fourth place finish improves on last season’s fifth but expectations will be high for Pat Fenlon and his side next year.

This year’s away specialists got a home win last week, defeating Sligo Rovers 1-0. Currently sixth Limerick could finish the season as high as fifth if results go their way. It has been another successful season for Limerick with clear progress being shown, fans will be hoping for much of the same next year.

Prediction: Draw

Sligo Rovers –v- St Patrick’s Athletic    7:45

Sligo Rovers host St Patrick’s Athletic at the Showgrounds.

Off all the teams in the league, very few will be as pleased to see the back of this season as Sligo Rovers. With three managers, inconsistent form that never allowed to really a challenge for the league Sligo will look forward to the chance to regroup and prepare for next season.

A shock 2-0 home defeat to Athlone Town was far from ideal preparation for the FAI Cup final. St Patrick’s Athletic will now look to this final game as a chance to create some momentum heading into a competition they have not won since 1961. Sligo are always tough to play at home, but Liam Buckley will feel his side have enough to get it done.

Prediction: Away win

UCD –v- Drogheda United    7:45

Relegation battling UCD, host Drogheda United at the UCD Bowl.

A 1-0 away win against Derry City last week keeps the advantage of survival firmly with UCD. A win here will guarantee their safety, at the very least matching Athlone’s result will keep them up. UCD have managed to avoid the automatic drop so far and manager Aaron Callaghan will hope that luck lasts just a little bit longer.

A 2-0 home defeat against Shamrock Rovers last week leaves Drogheda United sitting in ninth position. A win here could see them rise as high as seventh, but recent form suggest otherwise. It has been a frustrating season for the Louth side. A mid-season rough patch where conceding four goals was the norm ensured that this season would be a tough one.

Prediction: Draw

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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