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5 Things To Look Out For In Week 18 Of The SSE Airtricity League

5 Things To Look Out For In Week 18 Of The SSE Airtricity League
By John Dodge

It mightn't be busiest weekend ever, but with 3 of the top 4 in action, it's sure to be another important weekend in the SSE Airtricity League.  Here's what you should look out for;

1) Can Dundalk bounce back from European defeat

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7nxiuu1phU

Dundalk lost 2-0 at home to Hadjuk Split last night and look to be heading out. On Sunday evening they'll have the tonic of a home game with Athlone Town to help keep them on top of the league standings.  You can see from highlights above that Dundalk had their chances and they're sure to get even more against the bottom side on Sunday.  As long as Dundalk can keep hold of Richie Towell, they must remain favourites for the title.

2) Can Cork City keep the pressure on.

On Setanta Sports tonight, Cork City host UCD (playing their first live TV games since October 2011) knowinga  postive result will put them on top of the league, even if temporarily. UCD were in shocking form but surprised Sligo with a 1-0 win last time out. Tonight's game will be a different story as Cork look to keep their unbeaten home run and clean sheet run going.  A win for Cork will leave them 9 points ahead of the Champions St Pats.  With 13 games left, that's a big cushion they have in the fight for Europe.

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3) Can Shamrock Rovers get back into it.

Rovers defeat to Dundalk last week was clearly bitterly disappointing for trevor Croly as they missed a chance to draw level at the top. Now 6 points behind, they travel to bray wanderers hoping for a win to tay in contact with the top 2. With so many attacking options, there lack of goals from strikers is baffling but their defence continues to give a chance to win every game.  Bray have lost 6 of the last 7 and shipped 5 last time out in Derry. If any team can give Rovers strikers a boost at the moment its Bray.

4) Will Longford finally put a gap between themselves and the pack?

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In 4 days, Longford play 2 games and if they wi both, they'll be 4 points clear with 10 games left. First up is a trip to bottom side Cobh Ramblers on Saturday. Longford have already failed to win there this season so won't be taking them lightly. On Tuesday they host Wexford Youths and again should win to put them selves in a great position to finally win promotion after threatening to do so for the past 3/4 seasons.

5) Will the excellent European results by St Pats and Sligo Rovers see any increase in coverage?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8_yPfYHKWY

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Last weekend's games were played around the world cup final and coverage in national media was clearly effected. On Wednesday St Pats were minutes away from winning away to the Polish Champions Legia Warsaw and a day later Sligo Rovers went one better. You can see highlights of their excellent win over Rosenborg here. The draws for the next rounds may help with St Pats likely to play Celtic if they can finish the job at home to Legia. Sligo were drawn to play Turkish team Karabükspor, should they hold out against Rosenborg, and they'll feel they have every chance of another win there. We'll see if the media starts to bring out some feel good stories about the league for a change.

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