Five things to watch out for this weekend

15th November 2023

Who can give their hopes of survival a huge boost?

Who can give their hopes of survival a huge boost?

Usually it’s a top of the table clash or a Dublin Derby that might grab the headlines heading into the weekend but this week it’s a clash between Cork City and Drogheda United which has a significant amount riding on it. 

Sitting in 7th and 9th, Cork welcome Kevin Doherty’s men in what could be a crucial game on the way to deciding who will end up in the Relegation Play-Off spot. 

With both sides brimming with ambition for the future, a drop to the SSE Airtricity Men’s First Division would be a blow and they will look to push distance between each other starting on Friday. 

As Sligo Rovers host Bohemians on Friday night, there will also be the chance that Sligo are finding themselves right in the middle of the battle following last week’s shock defeat to UCD. 

Drogheda United will have to do without talisman Freddie Draper and Elicha Ahui who have both now returned to Lincoln City following their conclusion of their loan deals. 

The question remains whether Drogheda can replace the goals of Draper and will be looking to the likes of Dayle Rooney and Darragh Markey to continue their good form to turn over Cork on Friday. 

But with the new management team now in place at Turner’s Cross until the end of the season, the Rebel Army have found stability and will be pinpointing this game as a crucial opportunity for three points in their hunt to consolidate top flight football. 

Can Shamrock Rovers keep their cushion at the top heading into Europe?

A typical tough place to go, Shamrock Rovers’ last visit to Oriel Park couldn’t have gone any better. But after their 4-0 win there in March, Dundalk have found a stubbornness and resilience that has kept them in the mix for European football in 2024. 

Despite going down to ten men on Monday against St Pat’s, Dundalk were the better team in the second half and even could have won it late on after Daniel Kelly’s late equaliser. 

Rovers did enough on Monday to get the crucial three points, but with St Pat’s hosting UCD, they will be looking to maintain their advantage at the top of the league heading into the European games. 

Derry City face a tough trip to Shels but Rovers know a win on Friday will see them in good stead in the title race this year heading into Europe. 

Pat Hoban, however, has been in sensational form recently and Dundalk have been finding ways to get points so this age-old classic rivalry in the League of Ireland is set up well for another night of drama. 

Dundalk will have to do without the suspended Rayhaan Tulloch but Stephen O’Donnell has dealt well with a number of absentees in recent weeks and they are searching for another win in their race for Europe. 

Can Treaty sign into the race for the Play-Offs?

After an impressive win away to Athlone Town on Friday and a stunning goal from Enda Curran, Treaty United welcome Bray Wanderers in a big game for the Play-Off positions. 

Treaty are five points behind Bray who occupy the final Play-Off spot and know that a win would be a crucial step for them to enter the Play-Offs this year and build on last week’s win. 

Bray grabbed the win over Kerry last week bur prior to this, they hadn’t won in four and will need to get back to winning ways if they want to maintain their promotion hopes. 

Markets Field will be hoping that Treaty United can use last week’s win as a turning point in their season having lost four in five before this and if Enda Curran can produce the magic again they will be in a good position to do so. 

Good performances from the likes of Darren Craven last week will need to be replicated as Ian Ryan’s men travel to Limerick but a win here could prove to a big step to the Play-Offs. 

Who will be in the Avenir Sports All-Island Cup Semi-Finals?

With eleven teams in contention to qualify for the inaugural Avenir Sports All-Island Cup Semi-Finals we are set for a truly dramatic day in the last group stage games. 

Highlights include a straight shoot off between Galway United and Shelbourne were Galway know only a win will do while Shels can qualify with just a draw on the road in Eamonn Deacy Park. 

A Wexford win in Group A on Saturday over Peamount will set up an almighty must win clash between Glentoran and Shamrock Rovers on the Sunday but regardless of the result on Saturday the clash in Glentoran will be massive for both sides who are currently just a point separated. 

Three teams can qualify from Group C and in Group D as Cliftonville need just a point at home to Sligo Rovers to secure their Semi-Final berth.

A point will also be enough for Cork City who could relight their season with a place in the final four if they hold off Crusaders who will need a win. DLR Waves will need to beat Treaty United and hope that Crusaders beat Cork to get themselves in but we’re guaranteed drama here as it looks like it will go right down to the wire.

With close games across the Island it’s difficult to know who are favourites but all eyes will be on Eamonn Deacy Park and BlanchFlower Stadium for two huge matches this weekend. 

Can Derry City bounce back?

Injuries are piling up for Derry City but they know they can’t afford any more slip ups in their pursuit of the leaders and face a very tough trip to Shelbourne on Friday who themselves are in need of a win to keep their European hopes alive. 

Both teams could feel unlucky after good performances away to Shamrock Rovers and St Pat’s with 1-0 losses but ultimately they will need to find goals on their respective paths. 

For Shels, the returning Sean Boyd is where they will look to and hope that Jack Moylan can rediscover the form he has showed in glimpses at points this season and rely on their trusted defence at the other end. 

Without Michael Duffy, Will Patching and Patrick McEleney, Derry have been missing some of their biggest threats but know they have reinforcements coming and see Friday as must win to stay in the race. 

Every league game between the two have been extremely tight and is one of the hardest games to call this week and Shels could use their home advantage to good effect here setting up the chance for a scalp to kick start their season coming into the summer transfer window. 

Friday, 30 June, 2023 - 19:45

SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division 

Cork City v Drogheda United 
Dundalk v Shamrock Rovers
Shelbourne v Derry City
Sligo Rovers v Bohemians
St Patrick’s Athletic v UCD 

SSE Airtricity Men’s First Division 

Athlone Town v Cobh Ramblers 
Galway United v Kerry
Treaty United v Bray Wanderers
Waterford v Finn Harps 

Saturday, 1 July, 2023 - 19:30

SSE Airtricity Men’s First Division 

Longford Town v Wexford 

Avenir Sports All-Island Cup 

Group A

Galway United v Shelbourne, 5pm
Linfield v Athlone Town, 6pm

Group B

Peamount United v Wexford

Group C

Sion Swifts v Bohemians, 2pm
Cliftonville v Sligo Rovers, 5:30pm 

Group D 

Treaty United v DLR Waves, 5pm
Crusaders v Cork City, 6pm 


Group B 

Glentoran v Shamrock Rovers, 2:30pm