League of Ireland Run-In

by Robert Hynes

With just eight weeks of League of Ireland football left, it looks like Sligo will win their first league title in 35 years.

The Bit O Red have a strong hold at the top of the table leading second place Drogheda by nine points. Although they don’t have the easiest of run-in’s having to visit Turners Cross and travel to Drogheda for their second last fixture, they remain in pole position to lift the trophy. They also face last years champions Shamrock Rovers at the Showgrounds as well as St Patrick’s.

The race for Europe is really heating up with only two points separating Drogheda, Pats and Rovers. Pats have perhaps the toughest run-in off the three with five away fixtures and only three home ties. They take part in two Dublin derby’s in four days this week when they travel to Dalymount and Tolka Park. They then enter a period of games that could make or break their season when they take on Drogheda in the quarter finals of the FAI Cup, Shamrock Rovers at Richmond Park and an away trip to Drogheda in the league.

Shamrock Rovers also face Shelbourne and Bohs this week but unlike Pats have home advantage in both games. Rovers remain undefeated at Tallaght in the league this season and play five of their remaining eight games at home as well as hosting the League Cup final against Drogheda.

Drogheda’s performances have dipped in recent weeks but they showed great character last Friday coming from two goals down in the Louth derby to beat Dundalk 3-2. They travel to Bray on Friday who they have beaten twice this season and host Derry at home on Monday who they have also beaten twice this year.

At the other end of the table Dundalk take on UCD in a massive game at Oriel Park on Friday evening. The Lilywhites haven’t won in front of their own fans since the 23rd of March while UCD have won three of their last four league games.

A defeat for the Louth men on Friday would leave them seven points a drift at the bottom of the league. They have tough fixtures in the coming weeks having to travel to Tallaght and the Showgrounds. They will be desperate to avoid the drop having spent seven seasons in the First Divison between 2002 and 2008.

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