Week 12 of the SSE Airtricity League has some huge games. Here's what we're looking out for.
1) Can Dundalk stay top by beating Sligo Rovers?
Game of the week is in oriel park where leaders Dundalk host the in-form Sligo Rovers. After losing in Bray, Dundalk have won 3 league games in a row including the incredible 7 goal thrashing of local rivals Drogheda on Tuesday. They lead Cork and shamrock Rovers by 2 points with all clubs now level on games played. In that 3 game league run, Dundalk narrowly lost the Setanta Cup final to Sligo Rovers. Rovers are now unbeaten in 8 and are part of a top 5 that is starting to breakaway from the rest. if tey can win tonight they'll be 5 points off the top and very much back in the title race
2) Can Bohs upset their title chasing rivals Shamrock Rovers?
In the last two games between these sides in Tallaght stadium, Bohs have won one and drawn one. Oh how they'd love something similar tonight. Rovers head into the game having won 4 of their last 5 and sit only 2 point behind the leaders. They've 8 wins this season compared to only 2 for Bohs. They really should win if they want to be challenging this year. Bohs are in wretched form and haven't won in 7 league games (scoring only 3 in the process). Nobody other than Jason Byrne has scored in those 7 league games. If they're to get something from Tallaght, that has to change.
3) Can Cork City keep the pressure on in Bray?
After 3 games without a win, Cork won twice last week to leap back into 2nd place in the table. Tonight they travel to 6th placed Bray Wanderers looking for the win to keep pressure on those around them. Bray's run of good form came to a shuddering halt on Tuesday when Sligo beat them 3-0. They'll be looking to get vack to the stingy ways and look for keeper Stephen McGuinness to keep another clean sheet. Nobody would be too surprised if this finishes scoreless.
4) Can St Pats stay in touch in Limerick?
Pats dropped two points away to UCD last week and when the outstanding games were played dropped from top to 4th. They travel to Thomond Park to face Limerick tonight, knowing they'll need a win to keep in touch with the top 3. They're still arguably the league's most in-form team though with 6 wins and 2 draws in their last 8 but they know they'll need to cut out defensive lapses to keep that going. Limerick have lot 4 of their last 5 and sit second bottom in the table. This is third game at home to one of the top 4 in 8 days, they'll be hoping for better than a 2-1 defeat like the previous pair.
5) Can Athlone Town pick up their first win?
It's been a crappy week for Athlone. Defeats to Shamrock Rovers and Sligo Rovers were bad enough but there was worse news off the field. A break-in on Monday caused the club's merchandise to be stolen and on Wednesday it was being reported that they owed rent on their stadum. While the club may dispute that last one, there's no denying that they desperately need a win to raise spirits in the midlands. They get their best chance of the season tonight when they host UCD. UCD were happy with a point against Pats last week but Athlone should have nothing to fear from them. It's hard to see a win coming at all if they can't do it tonight.
Whatever happens, enjoy the games!