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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 20 February, 2019
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Cork City to begin title defence with trip to Dublin as 2018 fixtures are revealed

The Premier Division is to begin slightly earlier, with the first games scheduled for 16 February.

Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

RICHMOND PARK WILL be the venue when Cork City start their defence of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division trophy.

City ended Dundalk’s run of three-in-a-row dominance in 2017 by clinching the club’s first top-flight title in 12 years, before sealing a double by defeating the Lilywhites in a penalty shootout to retain the FAI Cup.

Their first league outing as champions will be an away game against St Patrick’s Athletic. The fixtures for the 2018 season were released today.

Having been reduced to 10 teams, the Premier Division will bring 36 games for each club next season. Teams will face each other four times — twice at home and twice away. The Premier Division will kick off on Friday, 16 February, with the First Division — in which each team will play 27 games — getting started the following weekend.

The opening round of Premier Division fixtures brings a big Dublin derby as Bohemians host Shamrock Rovers at Dalymount Park. Dundalk will have home advantage against Bray Wanderers.

Waterford, who are back in the Premier Division after being crowned First Division champions, will host Derry City at the RSC. In a repeat pairing from the 2017 season’s opening day, Limerick will take on Sligo Rovers but Sligo will be at home on this occasion.

In the First Division, Galway United — who were relegated from the top flight on the final day of the 2017 campaign — will host Athlone Town. The other two relegated clubs, Drogheda United and Finn Harps, will meet at United Park. Shelbourne will travel to UCD and Cabinteely entertain Wexford.

Those First Division games will all take place on Friday, 23 February. Longford Town and Cobh Ramblers will get their seasons underway by squaring off at City Calling Stadium on Saturday, 24 February.

The 2018 FAI Cup final has been fixed for Sunday, 4 November. The EA Sports Cup final will take place on Saturday, 15 September. Dundalk and Cork City will contest the President’s Cup at Oriel Park on Sunday, 11 February, with kick-off at 2pm.

Click here to view the 2018 SSE Airtricity League fixtures in full.

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Paul Dollery

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