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5 Things To Look Out For In Week 17 Of The SSE Airtricity League

5 Things To Look Out For In Week 17 Of The SSE Airtricity League
John Dodge
By John Dodge
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Last night was a good one for LOI clubs in Europe but we're back to the main event this weekend.  Here's what we're looking out for;

1) Dundalk's biggest test as leaders

Brian Gartland, Dundalk, celebrates after scoring his side's first goal. UEFA Europa League First Qualifying Round, Second Leg, Dundalk v Jeunesse Esch. Oriel Park, Dundalk, Co. Louth. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

Dundalk have led the league for quite a while now. They're top scorers and possess probably the league's most exciting talent in Richie Towell.  On Sunday, they'll have their biggest test of the season so far when they travel to Tallaght to take on Shamrock Rovers.  Dundalk's lead is only on goal difference and a slip up on Sunday would probably allow Cork City to take over at the top. It won't be easy for Dundalk as Rovers will be flying high after last week's win over Pats. They've only conceded 6 goals in Tallaght and they'll know if they can win they'll draw level on points with men from Louth. It's all set up to be a cracker!

2) Can Cork City go top

Any positive result for Cork City away to struggling Drogheda United will see them lead the league, even if temporarily. With Mark O'Sullivan picking up the Player of the Month award and Cork adding Cillian Morrison and John O'Flynn, there's certainly a feel-good factor at play with Cork. They haven't conceded in 6 league and cup games either so clearly both attack and defence are performing, something most clubs can't say.  Despite last week's win in Bray, Drogheda are still in a fight to avoid that relegation play off spot.  If Cork are to win the league, they can't afford to drop points against the bottom 4/5 sides.

3) Can St Pats bounce back in another Dublin derby?


Greg Bolger, St Patrick’s Athletic. FAI Ford Cup, 2nd Round, St. Patrick’s CY v St Patrick’s Athletic, Richmond Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

Pats lost ground on the leaders last week and, worse, lost a tight Dublin derby to rivals Shamrock Rovers. Keith Fahey's red card means he'll likely miss 3 games and without him players like Bolger and Brennan need to find the form that brought them the title last season. They start tonight against a Bohs side still looking for their first home win of the season but in good form after their win in Limerick last week. Anything less than a win for Pats and they can forget about retaining their title.

4) Can Limerick's interim boss steady the ship?


Limerick sacked mutually consented Stuart Taylor during the week and former player Tommy Barrett steps in as interim boss for their trip to Athlone Town tonight.  Several former Limerick players have talked on twitter this week about Taylor's failings as a manager so perhaps Barrett will benefit from a boost to players' morale.  Once again Athlone look to claw their way up the table and they'll be looking to their improved home form to keep them in with a shout of staying up. Should be an interesting tie.

5) Will Europe kick start the season for Sligo and Derry?

ligo Rovers' Danny North celebrates with team-mate Aaron Greene, left, after scoring his side's third goal. UEFA Europa League First Qualifying Round, Second Leg, Sligo Rovers v Banga. Showgrounds, Sligo. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE


After great results in Europe, both Sligo and Derry will look to kick on in the league with games on Sunday. Sligo haven't conceded a goal under John Coleman (3 games) and travel to 2nd bottom side UCD ahead of a trip to Trondheim in midweek. Derry should recover quickly from last night's record win to host struggling Bray Wanderers. They've only one win in 10 games and with Derry improving under Hutton, they're unlikely to get another one on Sunday.

Whatever happens, enjoy the games!


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