1. Rebels still in the hunt
WITH FIVE LEAGUE games remaining, Cork City will be planning to keep the pressure on leaders Dundalk in the hope that they slip up with the finish line in sight.
The Rebels trail Stephen Kenny’s men by three points with the sides due to meet in a potential title-decided at Oriel Park on the final day of the season. Tonight, Sligo Rovers visit Turner’s Cross for a fixture which neither side has been able to win in two attempts this term.
Having been beaten 2-0 by Drogheda United in his first game as caretaker boss, Gavin Dykes is again in charge of Sligo in the wake of John Coleman’s departure for Accrington Stanley.
2. One more ‘Luas derby’
They may be only one place apart in the table but seven points separate third-placed St Patrick’s Athletic and Shamrock Rovers — currently sitting in fourth.
Richmond Park hosts a Dublin derby with the visit of the Hoops and Pat’s come into the game in decent form having obtained maximum points from their last five league outings. The title appears to be out of reach at this stage but Liam Buckley has said this week that he intends on finishing as high up the table as possible.
Rovers, meanwhile, followed up their EA Sports Cup final disappointment with a 1-1 draw against Bohemians in midweek.
3. Double on the cards for Dundalk
With the EA Sports Cup in the bag, Dundalk must put the celebrations behind them and prepare for one of the biggest months in the club’s history.
The Lilywhites claimed their first silverware in 12 years with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Shamrock Rovers last weekend but what a campaign it would be for Stephen Kenny and his talents squad if they could make it a league and cup double.
With a three-point advantage at the top of the table, they travel to the Belfield Bowl where a UCD side badly in need of points await. The Students are second from bottom but have a game in hand on Bray, who are just three points above them.
4. Rico wants more of the same
At United Park, it’s the meeting of Drogheda United and Bray Wanderers. The Drogs will be high on confidence for the visit of the Seagulls after their away win over Sligo Rovers, while Bray put in a spirited performance in a mad encounter against St Pat’s, which ended 4-2 to the Saints.
Damien Richardson was pleased with their last performance and is looking for a similar display tonight.
The victory in Sligo was the pinnacle of my time here so far,” Rico said. “Except for Gary O’Neill and Cathal Brady, it was the first time that I had a virtually fully fit squad to choose from and it showed in our performance.
“It was a very impressive display and we should have won by more but tomorrow night will pose a very different test. We need to be as assured at home as we are in our away games against what will be a strong Bray Wanderers side.”
5. Mid-table meeting at Dalymount
Limerick make the trip to Dublin to face Bohemians this evening. There is just one point between the sides (Bohs are eighth while Limerick lie in ninth) and both managers have called for strong showings in the final series of matches.
Owen Heary: “We still want to improve our performances. We still want to improve our home form. We still want to get a few more goals for Dinny, and there have to be more goals for us.”
Martin Russell: “As a group, since I’ve come in, the majority have tried to put their best foot forward and that’s going to be the case again hopefully on Friday and until the end of the season.”
Friday (7.45pm unless stated)
- Cork City v Sligo Rovers (7.05pm)
- Bohemian v Limerick
- Derry City v Athlone Town
- Drogheda United v Bray Wanderers
- St Patrick’s Athletic v Shamrock Rovers
- UCD v Dundalk
Friday (8pm unless stated)
- Waterford United v Longford Town (7.45pm)
- Finn Harps v Shelbourne
- Shamrock Rovers v Wexford Youths
Cobh Ramblers v Galway (7.45pm)