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Dublin: 17 °C Friday 17 August, 2018
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The title could be won and four other reasons to watch the League of Ireland this weekend

It’s the penultimate round of Premier Division fixtures this evening.

Cork City host Bohemians and must win to keep up the pressure on Dundalk. Liam Kearney  (left) and Karl Moore when the sides met earlier in the season.
Cork City host Bohemians and must win to keep up the pressure on Dundalk. Liam Kearney (left) and Karl Moore when the sides met earlier in the season.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

1. Dundalk close in on title

DUNDALK TRAVEL TO to the Carlisle Grounds to play Bray Wanderers with a single point separating them and second-placed Cork City going into tonight’s round matches.

The Lilywhites only managed a draw at home to Shamrock Rovers in their game in hand on Monday night but it could have been worse but for a penalty miss from Ryan Brennan. With a potential title decided against the Rebels at Oriel Park next Friday night, Stephen Kenny’s men will not want to drop points against the Seagulls, who are five points clear of the play-of spot in tenth.

2. Rebels still in the hunt

Turner’s Cross is bound to be hopping this evening as Cork City look to keep up the pace with Dundalk.

The Leesiders are on a six-game winning run in the league but lost out to opponents Bohemians 2-0 at Dalymount Park back in July. It has been an incredible first season in charge for John Caulfield and he will have his players fully-focused on the job at hand as they aim to set up a winner-takes-all clash with Dundalk in a week’s time.

“The situation for us over the last six or seven weeks has always been that we have had to keep the pressure on and see could we bring it to the last game of the season,” Caulfield said. “We know that if we don’t take the points on Friday night, then it won’t go to the last game.

“We know that if we do, then it will and that is all you can ask for.  Every week has been like a cup final, because we knew we couldn’t afford to drop any points.”

Bohs, meanwhile, come into the game on the back of a 2-2 draw with Sligo Rovers.

3. Athlone dream of great escape

Athlone Town are hanging onto slim hopes of avoiding automatic relegation ahead of their meeting with St Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park.

The Town are a point behind UCD so will need a favourable results against the Saints and/or Bray next week coupled with the Students dropping points if they are to beat the drop to the First Division.

Reigning champions St Pat’s are too far off the top to retain their title but Liam Buckley will want to go into next month’s FAI Cup final in flying form and a point will guarantee them third.

4. UCD fighting the drop

UCD aren’t safe and need a miracle in their last two games if they are to get out of the relegation play-off spot. Trailing Bray by five points but just one ahead of Athlone, the Students as it stands will end up in a two-legged tie against the winners of Galway v Shelbourne.

Derry City booked their place in the FAI Cup final with Shamrock Rovers earlier this month but were beaten 2-1 at home to Limerick in their last league out.

5. Bit O’Red visit Thomond

Limerick welcome Sligo Rovers to Thomond Park in their final home game of the season. Both clubs have nothing to play for bar pride but the Blues will hope for a reverse of the scoreline from earlier in the season when the Bit O’Red were 2-0 winners.

Premier Division

Friday (7.45pm)

  • Bray Wanderers v Dundalk (Live on RTE 2) 
  • Cork City v Bohemians
  • Derry City v UCD
  • Drogheda United v Shamrock Rovers
  • Limerick v Sligo Rovers
  • St Patrick’s Athletic v Athlone Town

First Divison play-off

Galway v Shelbourne (tonight, 7.45pm)

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Ben Blake

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