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Things to look out for in the Airtricity League this weekend...

All football is local… here’s the main talking points ahead of the weekend action.

IBV's Matt Garner and Derek Pender of St Pat's.
IBV's Matt Garner and Derek Pender of St Pat's.
Image: INPHO/Haraldur Gudjonsson

1. St Pat’s have the night off…

The Saints suffered defeat in their Europa League first round, first leg tie away to IBV in Reykjavik last night, going down to an Andri Olafsson penalty in the 50th minute.

Gary Rogers hauled down Tryggvi Gudmundsson five minutes after the break and the keeper was sent the wrong way from 12 yards.

All is not lost for Pats though, because IBV didn’t look that great and a one-goal deficit with the home tie still to come isn’t entirely disastrous.

If Pat’s perform to the standard they have shown in recent weeks in the league, then they should still have enough to overcome the Icelandic side at Richmond Park next Thursday.

2. … but they have to clock in on Sunday

Pats will now play Shamrock Rovers on Sunday and all of a sudden, it seems that all is not well in the Hoops’ camp.

With assistant manager Trevor Croly resigning, citing personal differences with Michael O’Neill, and rumours that Dan Murray could be set to leave the club, the champions look to be in disarray.

Further to that, O’Neill is garnering attention from other clubs – reportedly Scottish Premier League side Hibernians – and with those uncertainties hanging over the side, there might not be the dreaded European hangover for the Saints.

3. Seagulls’ wings clipped

After such a promising start to the season, Bray Wanderers look to be stuttering as three defeats in a row has left them 10 points off the pace.

The last of those losses was particularly surprising as Dundalk hammered them 5-1 on Tuesday night, with Mark Quigley banging in a hat-trick for the Lilywhites.

Tonight the Seagulls welcome a Sligo Rovers side that will be high in confidence after last week’s win over Shamrock Rovers. The Bit O’Red are the league’s form side, with 14 points earned from their last 18 and Pat Devlin will need to have his Bray side on top form if they’re to stand any chance of getting back to winning ways.

4. Is the west awake?

While hope is fading with each passing day for Galway United, they have one of their best chances of picking up just their second win of the year when welcoming third from bottom UCD to Terryland Park tomorrow night.

The Students have been dreadful on the road, and although the Tribesmen have just picked up a point in 10 games at Terryland Park, this will represent their best chance to add to that miserable tally.

UCD have lost four of their last six games and have conceded 44 in 20 games – the second worst defence, with the worst, obviously, being Galway. It seems like the wisest prediction would be for goals, seeing as both back-lines are awful, while a draw wouldn’t be surprising either.

5. The stony, grey soil of Monaghan

There’s a massive tie in the First Division promotion race as current leaders Shelbourne travel to face second-placed Monaghan United at Gortakeegan.

A win for Shels against Roddy Collins’ men, who are still unbeaten at home, would see them move seven points ahead of Mons, with Cork City and Limerick another three points adrift in joint third.

The Dubliners have been immense on their travels, winning all seven games away from home and conceding just two goals. Monaghan, however, have only conceded three times at home and have won five of their seven games in their own backyard to date, drawing the other two.

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