Potentially huge turning point in the league title race this weekend. Here's our take-aways
1) Dundalk become 4th team to lead the league this season
Dundalk beat UCD 2-0 and overtook St Pats to lead the league for the first time in a decade. It was Dundalk's 5th consecutive win and they continue to embarrass pundits who have been claiming they're due to fall away for months now. Next week Dundalk host local rivals Drogheda United and they know that if they win the remaining 7 games, they'll win the league
2) Pats stutter at home again
Pats drew 1-1 with Bohs and vacate the top spot for the first time in 3 months. In a sloppy performance, Pats gifted the equaliser to Bohs but couldn't argue with the draw being a fair result. All isn't lost for pats though and they travel to Derry tomorrow knowing any positive result will see them back on top of the table. The Pats v Dundalk game on September 2pth is shaping up to be a cracker.
3) Sligo Rovers aren't giving up their title easily
Sligo Rovers beat Limerick 2-0 to keep themselves in the race for a second consecutive league title. Goals by Raff Cretaro and Danny North showed that their squad is getting fit at just the right time. They trail Dundalk by 6 point but a win tomorrow at Drogheda (no easy feat!) will leave them only 3 points behind the Lilywhites and with all to play for down the home stretch.
4) Every point is crucial at the bottom.
Of the bottom 4 sides, only Bohs earned a point this weekend. With UCD and Bray losing to the in-form Dundalk and Drogheda sides, Shels may have felt they could earn something from their game with Shamrock Rovers. Rovers, however, dominated the early stages and looked to be safe when building a two goal lead. They made it hard for themselves by giving away a penalty and having Mark Quigley sent off (shortly after missing his own penalty) but Rovers stumbled home to keep Shels in the bottom 2. Next week sees UCD host Bray Wanderers. A win for UCD should see them safe while a win for Bray could be just the kick start they need.
5) Longford's slide continues.
Longford Town led the first division by 6 points not so long ago. After defeat to Waterford United this weekend they sit in 3rd place, 8 points behind the leaders Athlone Town. If they're not careful, they'l lose that 3rd (and final play-off) place to Mervue United. While only 5 games remain, Athlone play both Waterford and Longford in those, so they haven't quite wrapped up the title and promotion yet. The form they're in though, nobody is predicting anything other than promotion for Roddy Collins' lads.
Tomorrow night sees Drogheda United host Sligo Rovers while Derry City host St Patrick's Athletic. The latter is live on Setanta Ireland as the Airtricity League title race heats up.