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5 reasons to watch the League of Ireland and FAI Cup semi-finals this weekend

There are three league fixtures tonight and two cup semi-finals on Sunday.

Derry City manager Peter Hutton and Shamrock Rovers boss Pat Fenlon.
Derry City manager Peter Hutton and Shamrock Rovers boss Pat Fenlon.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

1. Hoops host Candystripes in the cup 

IT IS FAI Cup semi-final weekend with the last four facing off on Sunday afternoon in matches which are both televised on RTÉ.

Having missed out on silverware in the EA Sports Cup when they lost to Dundalk a couple of weeks back, Shamrock Rovers will get another crack at the whip on 2 November if they can first progress past Derry City.

The Hoops were victorious when the sides met last back in August thanks to goals from Ronan Finn and Dean Kelly. They come into the game on the back of 3-0 win over UCD while Derry drew 1-1 away to Bray last time out.

2. Saints out to end 53-year drought

In Sunday’s first game, St Patrick’s Athletic welcome Finn Harps to Richmond Park and will be intent on making the final now that retaining the league title is effectively beyond them.

On paper at least, the Saints were given the handiest draw of all four remaining teams as they have home advantage against the only First Division club left. There is also the small matter of a 53-year FAI Cup drought. Two years ago, Pat’s fell at the last hurdle when Derry claimed victory after extra-time and but they have as good a chance as they ever will to end that barren run.

3. Rebels with a cause

In the Premier Division, Cork City haven’t yet given up hope of catching Dundalk in the title race and host Drogheda United in a must-win game.

The Rebels will be expecting another packed house at Turner’s Cross after their 2-1 win over Sligo Rovers last Friday night. Drogheda, however, are unlikely to roll over and are unbeaten in their last five league outings.

“It’s another huge game for us,” said Cork boss John Caulfied.  We’ve probably been a pain in the backside for people, because we’re still there and we’ve hung in there all season even though we’ve been written off all year.”

4. Students nearing the drop

Sligo Rovers host a UCD team desperate for points on Saturday.

The Students’ defeat to Shamrock Rovers during the week means they are now 10 league matches without a win. They sit just one point above basement club Athlone Town and are real danger of relegation with four fixtures left to play.

5. Can Athlone get off the bottom?

Athlone Town travel to Thomond Park with the aim of climbing off the foot of the table. A win for the Midlanders coupled with a defeat to UCD would see Keith Long’s men leapfrog their nearest relegation rivals and move out of 12th position for the first time in months.

Limerick went down 2-0 to Bohemians on Friday night and currently sit ninth in the table.

Premier Division 

Friday (7.45pm)

  • Cork City v Drogheda
  • Limerick v Athlone Town
Saturday (7.45pm)
  • Sligo v UCD
FAI Cup semi-finals
Sunday
  • St Pat’s v Finn Harps 1.45pm
  • Shamrock Rovers v Derry 3.55pm

First Division

Friday

  • Waterford United v Cobh Ramblers 7.45pm
  • Shelbourne v Galway 8pm
  • Longford Town v Shamrock Rovers 

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About the author:

Ben Blake

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