4 reasons to go watch League of Ireland football this weekend

The EA Sports Cup is up for grabs while Cork City and St Patrick’s Athletic can make up ground on Dundalk.

Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny and Shamrock Rovers boss Pat Fenlon.
Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny and Shamrock Rovers boss Pat Fenlon.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

1. Cup final day at Oriel Park

HAVING FACED EACH other twice already in the past week, Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers clash with silverware at stake in the EA Sports Cup final on Saturday.

The sides played out a drab 0-0 draw in their FAI Cup quarter-final meeting last Friday, meaning a replay was need three days later. Away from home, the Hoops got the better of Stephen Kenny’s men with Karl Sheppard coming off the bench to score twice in a 2-1 win.

The Hoops are the current holders after overcoming Drogheda United in the final 12 months ago and Pat Fenlon would love to get his hands this early on in his Rovers career.

2. Limerick out to upset Cork in Munster derby

With Dundalk not in league action, Cork City can take the opportunity to close the gap at the top to three points in their game in-hand.

The Rebels travel to Thomond Park on Sunday evening where Limerick, currently seventh in the table, will be intent on getting one over on their Munster rivals. It’s 16 days since Martin Russell’s side last player due to a cup weekend he says they are relishing the chance to scupper Cork’s title chances.

“Cork are going well but we’ll be going into the game trying to get a win for ourselves and trying to stop them winning the league,” said Russell. “It’s a big game and I think it grabs the attention.”

3. Managerless Sligo welcome Drogheda 

For the second time in three months, Sligo Rovers find themselves managerless after yesterday’s announcement that John Coleman and his assistant Jimmy Bell have left for Accrington Stanley.

The Bit O’Red have had to endure a season full of disruptions and Head of Youth Development Gavin Dykes will be tasked with leading the team out against Drogheda United on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Drogs are seven points off Sligo in eighth and come into the game off the back of a 5-0 hammering by Derry City in the cup.

4. Saints look to keep up good run

Third-placed St Patrick’s Athletic are on a six-game winning run in all competitions, having claimed victory over Dundalk, booked their place in the last four of the FAI Cup and won the Leinster Senior Cup in the past fortnight.

The Saints pay a visit to the Carlisle Grounds to take on Bray Wanderers, third from bottom and in need of some points, and captain Ger O’Brien is well aware they are in for a battle.

“Bray will be fighting for the points for different reasons,” the full-back said. “But we know well from the last few seasons, it’s never an easy game out in the Carlisle Grounds. We’ll go out with the same attitude though in trying to win the game and hopefully we can get the win.”

EA Sports Cup final – Saturday

Dundalk v Shamrock Rovers (5.45pm)

Premier Division 

Friday (7.45pm)

Athlone Town v Bohemian
Bray v St Patrick’s Athletic


Sligo v Drogheda (7.45pm)


Limerick v Cork City (5.30pm)

First Division

Friday (8pm)

Shelbourne v Shamrock Rovers
Wexford Youths v Waterford


Longford Town v Cobh Ramblers (7.45pm)
Galway v Finn Harps (7.45pm)

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Ben Blake

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