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Dublin: 5 °C Sunday 16 December, 2018
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We now have a Premier Division champion and the relegation battle is really hotting up

Several clubs can still go down with three games to go.

Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny is thrown in the air by his players after they captured the league title The Dundalk players throw Stephen Kenny into the air after sealing the title. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Dundalk crowned champions

THE SCENES AT the end told their own story.

As Dundalk’s players and band of travelling supporters waited anxiously to hear news of Cork’s result in Drogheda, the sense of emotion and pride was palpable in Tallaght.

For this was a club on the brink of submersion not so long ago and now, once again, they were the champions – an honour which reinforces their status as the leading force in Irish football. But perhaps the most striking moment came when the celebrations had temporarily died down.

Pat Fenlon re-emerged from the dressing rooms. No doubt hurt by his sides’ failure to hold onto to the lead late on, he put that to one side to take a minute to congratulate his counterpart, Stephen Kenny. It would have been the sweetest of moments for the Dundalk manager on his return to Whitestown Way. Three years after he was forced out of Rovers, Kenny’s resurrection mirrors that of the Dundalk’s revival.

- Ryan Bailey

Tough run-in for Drogs

Drogheda have won just once in 12 league games now and their Premier Division status remains up in the air, and it is likely to stay that way until the final round of games.

With just six points separating the bottom seven teams, the remaining three games has much scope for twists, turns and drama.

But the Louth men’s record under new manager Mark Kinsella has been generally good. Sure, a 6-0 goal drubbing at the hands of Dundalk four weeks ago – and in particular the manner of that defeat – looked to signal their imminent demise. But they are not the only side to be made look silly by the league champions this season.

Kinsella oversaw a win away in Derry in his first game in charge and Drogheda have recovered well to earn draws against two of the top five in Bohemians and Cork City since. It’s still a tough run-in but they might still get out of trouble.

- Barry Landy

Can Galway stay up?

Back in July when Galway United defeated Limerick at Markets Field, 17 points divided the clubs. A stirring and stunning revival from Martin Russell means that gap has been reduced to three.

At Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday a Galway native, Vinny Faherty, was the star for Limerick — netting a brilliant brace.

Moycullen lad Faherty has scored four against Galway this season. Last Friday’s match was as encouraging for Limerick as it was disappointing for Galway.

Can the Tribesmen recover? Next on the agenda is a trip to Oriel Park for a clash with Dundalk on Friday. These are testing times in the west.

- Cian O’Connell  

Bit O’Red still fighting relegation

Anthony Elding celebrates with Jason Hughes and Gavin Peers after scoring the equalizing goal Sligo's player celebrate with goalscorer Anthony Elding. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Sligo Rovers may well have saved their club from the drop thanks to the late goal from substitute Anthony Elding right on the full-time whistle.

They now are out of the relegation zone on goal difference and need to take their chances more proficiently in the remaining fixtures.

Next week’s game against Bohemians could be the decider in my opinion and Rovers will have to find what they seem to have been missing all season if the they are going to remain in the Premier Division.

- Michael Spencer

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