sse-aitricity-league-overtheturnstile

The end is in sight in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division and last season’s champions Dundalk look on course to defend their title, which would make it four league titles in five years for the Lilywhites. Vinny Perth’s men are also still in the hunt for a historic treble after last week’s penalty shootout win against Declan Devine’s Derry City side in the EA Sports Cup final.

The full fixture list for this weekend is as follows, with all games kicking off at 19:45 tonight unless otherwise stated:-

Cork City v Finn Harps

Derry City v Bohemians

U.C.D. v Sligo Rovers

Waterford v Dundalk

Shamrock Rovers v St. Patrick’s Athletic (tonight at 20:00)

In our preview of the fixtures we start with a game at the bottom end of the table were Finn Harps travel to Turners Cross to take on Derry City.

Cork City v Finn Harps

The two sides that were promoted last season, Finn Harps and U.C.D., are currently the two sides occupying the bottom to spots in the table and as it stands Ollie Horgan’s Harps side would avoid automatic relegation but still find themselves in the promotion/relegation play-offs. Finn Harps go into this game on the back of a three-game losing streak in the league having not won a league game since a Harry Ascroft goal saw them beat Bohemians at Finn Park.

Cork City go into tonight’s game also on the back of a losing streak in the league having also lost their last three on the spin. In fact, Neale Fenn’s men are by no means out of the woods as far as relegation is concerned as a defeat tonight would move the Harps to within four points of City. City do have a game in hand but at this stage of the season, it is points on the board that count.

Cameron’s Prediction – Cork City 1-2 Finn Harps

Derry City v Bohemians

There’s still one European spot up for grabs this season and it will go to the team that finishes 3rd in the table. At the minute that would be Bohemians but both Derry and St. Pat’s are level on points and sitting just two points behind the Boh’s so tonight’s game could see the entire picture change completely.

The Candystripes will have been disappointed last week to let the lead slip twice in the EA Sports Cup final before eventually losing on penalties against Dundalk but Devine’s side will just have to dust themselves down for this game.

This is the fourth and final meeting between these two sides this season with two of the previous three meetings ending in a stalemate and Bohemians winning the other one 2-0.

Cameron’s prediction – Derry City 1-1 Bohemians

U.C.D. v Sligo Rovers

It’s been tough going for U.C.D. in their first top-flight campaign in five years, a 10-1 defeat against Bohemians a few weeks ago being a particular low point, but as it stands the Dublin side are still in with a chance of Premiership survival. Currently, the Students are 12 points behind Cork so while automatic survival may seem unlikely it is worth noting that they have two huge six-pointers coming up against the two teams sitting directly above them in the table.

Rovers in the meanwhile are sitting right in the middle of the stack in 6th place, there is no chance of Liam Buckley’s men going down but moving into the top half is unlikely at this point but they are still on course to beat this season’s 7th placed league season and points haul. One thing Buckley may look to address over the summer is a lack of goals in his side with over half of their 34 goals scored in the league this season coming from Romeo Parkes and Ryan Coughlan.

Cameron’s prediction – U.C.D. 2-1 Sligo Rovers

Waterford v Dundalk

At one point early on in the season it actually looked like it would be a close-run thing between Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers but it appears Perth’s side were simply toying with their opponents as they have raced into a ten-point lead with six games remaining in the campaign. Dundalk have been simply ruthless this season losing only two games so far in all domestic competitions, conceding only 13 goals and scoring 63 themselves. They go into today’s game on the back of six league wins in a row and are unbeaten in the league since the 12th April, a run stretching to 21 games. Dundalk fans will be pleased to have three remaining home games this season as domestically no opposition team has tasted victory at Oriel Park all season. In short, if Rovers are to hold onto their slim chances of lifting the league title they will simply need to keep winning and hope Dundalk slip up somewhere along the way, they also need to amass more points the Lilywhites as goal difference is not going to cut it.

Much like Sligo, Waterford have little to play for other than pride at this stage and attentions will already have turned to the 2020 season. It’s been a frustratingly inconsistent season for Alan Reynolds side who finished 4th last season but currently find themselves sitting in 7th place and even if they won all their remaining fixtures they would still ten points short of what they ended up with last season. If Waterford are to start climbing the table again they will need to address their leaky defence as currently only Finn Harps and U.C.D. have conceded more.

Cameron’s prediction – Waterford 0-2 Dundalk

Shamrock Rovers v St. Patrick’s Athletic

Rovers have already won more games than they did last season and as it stands have drawn and lost fewer games than last season, they are all but guaranteed to improve on last season’s 3rd place finish and their final points tally from last season, last season they had one of the meanest defences in the league conceding just 27 goals and as it stands this season they have only conceded 18 and they are still in with a chance of improving their goal tally. Despite all this, Rovers still trail defending champions by 10 points going into the home straight. Of course this is largely down to the face that Dundalk are simply an incredibly strong side but Stephan Bradley must be scratching his head wondering what more he can do. A win tonight will just about keep Rovers in the hunt and attention will then turn to Monday’s huge game when the top two meet for the final time, could you imagine the importance of that game if Dundalk were to lose tonight and Rovers win.

St. Pat’s have had another steady season and currently occupy 5th in the table, last season they got into Europe due to the fact that Waterford were not able to take up a spot in Europe having only reformed in 2016. This season the Dublin side will be hoping to qualify for Europe on their own merit, at the moment they trial Bohemians by two points and only goal difference separates them from Derry. St. Pat’s do have a tough run in as they have to face the top two as well as the two other sides in the European hunt but it makes for an exciting end for the neutral.

Cameron’s prediction – Shamrock Rovers 3-1 St. Patrick’s Athletic

Here are the current league standings going into tonight’s games:-

PosClubPlWDLGFGAGDPTS
1Dundalk30235263135074
2Shamrock Rovers30204653183564
3Bohemians311471042261649
4Derry City301211745291647
5St. Patrick’s Athletic31138102628-247
6Sligo Rovers31911113441-738
7Waterford3197153849-1134
8Cork City3079142539-1430
9Finn Harps3165202559-3423
10U.C.D.3153232170-4918

 

The First Division also ends tomorrow with these games all kicking off at 19:45:-

Athlone Town v Galway United

Bray Wanderers v Drogheda United

Cobh Ramblers v Longford Town

Shelbourne v Limerick

Wexford v Cabinteely

Here are the league standings for the First Division:-

PosClubPlWDLGFGAGDPTS
1Shelbourne26183543192457
2Drogheda United26163758322651
3Longford Town26153838221648
4Cabinteely26138537271047
5Bray Wanderers26134940251543
6Limerick26106103334-136
7Cobh Ramblers2687113748-1131
8Galway United2674153440-625
9Athlone Town2645172859-3117
10Wexford2625192163-4211

 

We had planned to bring you our Danske Bank Premiership predictions today but this has been postponed until tomorrow when we will also preview the six games taking place, see you then.