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3 reasons to watch the League of Ireland this weekend

There are just three Premier Division fixtures over the coming days due to clubs’ involvement in Europe.

Robbie Benson of UCD chases Cork City full-back Brian Lenihan.
Robbie Benson of UCD chases Cork City full-back Brian Lenihan.
Image: Donal Farmer/INPHO

1. Rebels out to steal a march

WITH DUNDALK NOT playing until Sunday evening due to Europe League commitments on Thursday, Cork City, currently level on points with the Lilywhites, can go top of the table by avoiding defeat when UCD come to town.

John Caulfield’s men have been solid in recent weeks, claiming six wins and a draw from their last seven league outings while their home form at Turner’s Cross has also been excellent. The Students, meanwhile, earned a superb win over Sligo Rovers last Sunday, which moved them up to tenth on 17 points from 19 games.

The last time these two clashed earlier in the season, Cork won 1-0 at the Belfield Bowl.

Early on in the season, we played UCD in Dublin and beat them one nil in a very tight match,” Caulfield told the club’s website.

“We are at the top of the table, while UCD are near the bottom and on paper it seems a game that we should pick up three points in, but in this league every team is capable of putting it up to you.”

2. Hoops aim to bounce back

Shamrock Rovers went down 1-0 to Paddy Hoban’s 66th-minute goal on Sunday and a day later followed up that game with a friendly against Wolverhampton Wanderers, where an experimental side lost out 4-1 to the Championship outfit.

Sitting fourth on the same points as St Patrick’s Athletic (who don’t play this weekend after impressive Champions League draw away to Legia Warsaw), the Hoops will see a trip to the Carlisle Grounds as the perfect opportunity to earn three points.

The Seagulls are on a run of four straight league defeats, in which they have conceded 16 goals and scored just three.

3. Top v bottom in Louth

At 7pm on Sunday evening, league leaders Dundalk host basement side Athlone Town at Oriel Park — although Cork may have leapfrogged the home side by then.

The Lilywhites were in action in the Europa League last night but, after seeing off AS Jeunesse Esch in the first qualifying round, they were on the losing end of a 2-0 scoreline against Crotian club Hadjuk Split in last night’s first leg.

Stephen Kenny’s men have two draws and a win from their last three Premier Division matches and come up against and Athlone team who will be buoyed by their 3-0 victory over Limerick last Friday night.

Premier Division 

Friday

  • Bray Wanderers v Shamrock Rovers (7.45pm)
  • Cork City v UCD (8.05pm)

Sunday

  • Dundalk v Athlone Town (7pm)

First Division 

Friday

  • Waterford United v Wexford Youths (7.45pm)
  • Finn Harps v Galway (8pm)

Saturday

  • Cobh Ramblers v Longford Town (7.45pm)

Sunday

  • Shamrock Rovers v Shelbourne (2pm)

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About the author:

Ben Blake

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