Saturday 4 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
Donall Farmer/INPHO Greg Bolger and Patrick McEleney battle for the ball when Dundalk and Cork met earlier this year.
# Crunch time
Weekend results tee up biggest game of the season and other LOI talking points
We’re into the final month of the Premier Division campaign and it’s really hotting up.

Title race blown wide open

CORK CITY’S 5-0 win over Galway United sets up a crucial encounter with Dundalk on Tuesday night.

The three points picked up at Eamonn Deacy Park means John Caulfield’s men trail the Lilywhites by just a single point.

Dundalk suffered a shock 3-0 loss at home to Sligo Rovers and goals from Sean Maguire (2), Stephen Dooley, Garry Buckley and substitute Chiedozie Ogbene leaves the Leesiders with a superior goal difference to the champions heading into the biggest game of the season so far.

Prior to the game, Dundalk had the comfort of a +40 goal difference compared to Cork’s +34. But John Caulfield’s side were clinical on Saturday with Dundalk’s concession of three in Oriel Park, the Leesiders have edged in as we approach the business end of the year.

- Declan Rooney

Busy schedule catching up on Lilywhites?

As is often the case in these scenarios, much of the focus has been on Dundalk’s Saturday night collapse as opposed to Sligo’s big win. That’s only natural, given the nature of the defeat for the champions and the position it leaves them ahead of the visit of Cork tomorrow.

Sligo excelled at Oriel Park but Dundalk were out on their feet. Swash-buckling performances from earlier in the season have been few and far between of late but Stephen Kenny’s side were getting results. On Saturday, they were blown away.

They couldn’t control the ball, consistently played it out of play and created nothing. Dundalk will have to be much-improved against Cork tomorrow night. They can’t be any worse.

- Barry Landy

Determined derby display from Bohs

Bohemians have had an inconsistent season but they put in a fine display to beat rivals Shamrock Rovers in their final home game of the campaign.

They exhibited the hallmarks that Keith Long would’ve been hoping for from his players all year as their passion and bite was evident.

From back to front, the entire team demonstrated their desire to get a result for the raucous home following, with Kurtis Byrne epitomising the team’s work-rate as he harried the Hoops defence throughout.

The performance indicated the potential that Bohs have to compete with the better sides in the league and Long will be keen for his players to ensure a top-half finish and to push on next season.

- Sean O’Neill 

Saints rising

They may have been coming off a 3-1 defeat to Cork in the FAI Cup, but the Saints were brilliant in Inchicore on Friday night and could have easily scored six or seven goals had they been a bit more clinical in front of goal.

The midfield trio of Jamie McGrath, Conan Byrne and Billy Dennehy caused Wexford plenty of problems in defence as Lee Keegan’s side had no answer for Pats movement and passing in the final third.

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Bohemians’ win over Shamrock Rovers in the Dublin derby means Liam Buckley’s side will sit in eighth place for the moment, but with three games in hand, the Saints could theoretically catch Derry City in fourth.

- Jack O’Toole

Harps edge closer to safety

Harps hadn’t won in three months before Friday and it was inevitable that they were nervously hanging on by the end of the meeting with Bray. But this victory and Wexford’s loss at St Pat’s means that Harps are within touching distance of survival with an eight-point lead with four fixtures remaining.

- Chris McNulty

Patterson bails out Candystripes again

Derry City looked like they had blown the chance to move back into third spot as they trailed 2-1 to bottom of the table, Longford but the Candystripes’ talisman Rory Patterson came to the rescue with a two minute brace of goals. which leave them two points clear of Rovers with just three games to play.

- Simon Collins

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