1. First versus third in Tallaght
DUE TO THE the second leg of their Europa League first round qualifier last night, Premier Division leaders Dundalk don’t play until Sunday — when they travel to Dublin 24 to take on Shamrock Rovers.
While the Lilywhites didn’t have a league fixtures last weekend, the Hoops closed the gap between themselves and their upcoming opponents to three points with a big win over St Patrick’s Athletic, which ended 2-1 after both Keith Fahey and Stephen McPhail were shown red cards.
Former Ireland international McPhail was given his marching orders after attempting to headbutt Killian Brennan and will miss this game through suspension.
2. Rebels on the road
Cork City’s run of six consecutive league wins came to an end when they were held 0-0 by Sligo Rovers on Sunday, but the point was enough to bring them level with Dundalk at the top.
The Rebels are away to Drogheda United tonight and the Louth side will have taken confidence from their 3-1 victory over Bray Wanderers last time out, which saw them leapfrog the Seagulls into ninth.
“Drogheda obviously had a terrible run of form, and have changed their manager,” Cork manager John Caulfied told their website.
“They went to Bray last week and claimed a 3-1 win, and a win like that will have given them a boost. It’s a very tight pitch up there and it will be a very difficult game for us, as every match is.”
3. Dublin derby at Dalyer
St Patrick’s Athletic take on a second Dublin club in a week by making the short trip across the Liffey to play Bohemians at Dalymount Park tonight.
A 2-1 defeat to Shamrock Rovers leaves last season’s title winners in fourth place on 36 points while Bohs overcame Limerick away from home on Friday to move up to seventh.
Next Wednesday sees Pat’s embark on the start of their Champions League campaign against Polish champions Legia Warsaw in the second round qualifiers and Liam Buckley will be hoping for a positive result ahead of the first leg.
“We were disappointed with last week’s result but the players have worked hard all week and we’ll be looking to put things right and get a result,” said Buckley. “Owen Heary will have Bohs set-up very well so look it, it’ll be a tough game.”
4. Candystripes host Seagulls
Also in European action last night, defeating Welsh outfit Aberystwyth Town 9-0 on aggregate, Derry City return to the league on Sunday evening when they welcome Bray Wanderers to the Brandywell.
Under the guidance of Peter Hutton, the Candystripes have shown improvement in recent weeks and the 1-0 win over Athlone last Sunday followed on from decent draws with Dundalk and Sligo.
Bray have been beaten in their last three outings and are in danger of being dragged into the bottom two if results don’t pick up.
5. Sligo face Students
Sligo Rovers progressed past FK Banga of Lithuania at the Showgrounds last night but will quickly turn their attention to taking on UCD at the Belfield Bowl on Sunday.
New Bit O’Red manager John Coleman is unbeaten in the league since taking over from Ian Baraclough and will be eyeing three points as they attempt to close in on the top four.
The Students, meanwhile, can go level on 17 points with Bray if they can cause an upset Sligo coupled with a loss for the Seagulls.
Friday (7.45pm unless stated otherwise)
- Athlone Town v Limerick
- Drogheda United v Cork City
- Bohemians v St Patrick’s Athletic (8pm)
- UCD v Sligo Rovers (3pm)
- Shamrock Rovers v Dundalk (4pm)
- Derry City v Bray Wanderers (5pm)
Friday (8pm unless stated otherwise)
- Galway v Shamrock Rovers (7.45pm)
- Finn Harps v Cobh Ramblers
- Shelbourne v Waterford United
- Wexford Youths v Longford Town