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LOI: Two Games, Two Clubs, One Champion

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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. Continue reading

LOI: Title Challengers Can’t Afford To Slip Up

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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. Continue reading

LOI: Cup Action Takes Over End Of Season Schedule

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There’s a busy weekend of League Of Ireland card this weekend, complimented by Sunday’s FAI Cup semi final double header, which pits Shamrock Rovers against Derry City and St Patrick’s Athletic against Finn Harps. Onto the league action.

Cork City –v- Drogheda United    7:45

Title chasing Cork City play Drogheda United at Turner’s Cross.

Goals from Mark O’Sullivan and Billy Dennehy were enough to give Cork City a 2-1 win over Sligo Rovers last week. That win keeps them second, three points behind Dundalk. Cork will be fully aware of the importance of not dropping points in their final games, for if they drop even one it could be season over. Continue reading

LOI: Cork Aim To Turn Up Pressure On Dundalk

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Bray Wanderers –v- St Patrick’s Athletic    7:05

Relegation threatened Bray Wanderers play St Patrick’s Athletic at the Carlisle Grounds.

With only six games to go, every game is now crucial for Bray Wanderers, who have not played since the 2-1 defeat to Bohemians on September 5th. Bray will be determined to put some more points on the board. They face a tough ask against St Patrick’s Athletic but with home advantage anything is possible.

Now that the league title is beyond them St Patrick’s Athletic have focused their aim on the FAI Cup. Despite that the Dublin side are still capable of big results in the league as seen by their recent 1-0 win over champions elect Dundalk. Despite having little to play for St Pats are still capable of beating anyone on their day and will be fully expecting all three points here. Continue reading

LOI: Reigning Champs Seek To Dent Dundalk’s Title Tilt

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St Patrick’s Athletic –v- Dundalk    7:05

St Patrick’s Athletic play host to league leaders Dundalk at Richmond Park.

A solitary goal from Aaron Greene gave St Patrick’s Athletic a 1-0 win over Derry City last week. That win keeps their European ambitions alive and with the FAI Cup still up for grabs, this season is far from over for the Dublin side. The reigning champions face extremely tough opposition in the form of Dundalk but St Pats are capable of beating anyone on their day and may just pull off an upset.

Dundalk took a huge step towards their first league title since 1995 by beating Bohemians 3-2 last week. That puts them six points clear with seven games remaining. It’s now Dundalk’s league to throw away, something Stephen Kenny and his side will be determined to avoid. Another three points here and all the pressure is on Cork who they play in the final game. Continue reading

LOI: Seagulls Must Win Crucial Relegation Six Pointer

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Athlone Town –v- Cork City    7:45

Relegation battling Athlone Town play title chasing Cork City at the Athlone Town Stadium.

The 1-1 draw with UCD last time out was a huge blow to Athlone’s survival chances. Instead of closing the gap to two points, it has now become five. Athlone’s best chance for survival seems to have gone. They face a tough challenge here against a team with as much to win as Athlone have to lose. If they are to have any chance at survival, defeat must be avoided at all costs.

Like their opponents Cork had a disappointing week. The 1-1 draw with Bray Wanderers has left the rebel army four points adrift of league leaders Dundalk. Cork will be determined to get back on track and quickly. A win here against the league’s bottom side would be the perfect place to start. Continue reading

LOI: Fenlon Seeks To Put One Over Former Charges

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Bohemian FC –v- Shamrock Rovers    7:45

A Dublin derby here as Bohemians play host to fierce rivals Shamrock Rovers at Dalymount Park.

Goals from Karl Moore and Jason Byrne gave Bohemians victory over Drogheda United on Friday. This win keeps them in seventh position and has all but secured their position in the league next year. Having thus far surpassed their tenth place finish last year’s Bohs will be determined to finish as high as they can and are more than capable of doing so.

After the excellent start to Pat Fenlon’s reign at Shamrock Rovers, the 1-1 draw with Athlone Town on Friday put quite a dent into it. Rovers have had a short amount of time to regroup and will have to be at their best if they are to get a win here. Long term, this season can be considered a write off. It’s now just preparation for what must a serious title challenge next year. Continue reading