The League of Ireland is set for what could be the biggest night of its season, with crucial points up for grabs in all five top flight games.
As the domestic league heads towards the final stretch, a host of teams can claim to still be involved in the title race, with varying degrees of realism behind their hopes.
Incredibly, the fixture computer has pitted the top six against each other on Friday night, with leaders Shamrock Rovers hosting fourth-placed Bohemians, third-placed Derry City travelling to sixth-placed Dundalk, and second-placed St. Patrick's Athletic crossing the Liffey to face fifth-placed Shelbourne.
TABLE | SSE Airtricity Men's Premier Division
Shelbourne are up to 5th after a narrow victory over Sligo Rovers tonight 🧗♀️
All set for a huge round of fixtures next Friday!#LOI | #SLISHE pic.twitter.com/QEsrYFY9CR
— League of Ireland (@LeagueofIreland) August 26, 2023
League of Ireland title race
Rovers currently have a four-point buffer at the top of the table, meaning that defeat against Bohs could see St. Pat's close in to just one point behind with a win over Shelbourne.
Bohs themselves are currently on 47 points alongside Derry City, so they know that gaining three points in Tallaght this evening has the potential to blow the title race wide open, particularly if the Candystripes also manage to pick up a win against Dundalk.
Derry City also have the benefit of a game in hand, after their Europa Conference League exploits this summer.
Shelbourne and Dundalk are both on 43 points and will be aiming for victories that could keep their faint hopes of a title charge alive, but would more likely boost their chances of finishing in the European places.
League of Ireland relegation battle
It's also a massive night for those trying to avoid relegation, as Sligo Rovers travel to Cork City for a six-pointer, while Drogheda United host all-but-doomed UCD.
Cork City currently occupy the relegation play-off spot on 24 points, with Sligo Rovers just above them on 30. A win for the away side at Turner's Cross would go a long way to sealing Cork's fate, but a Rebels victory would mean there is still plenty to play for in the coming weeks.
Drogheda sit on 32 points and know that any slip-up tonight could drag them back into trouble, while basement side UCD will simply be aiming to add to the meagre 10 points they have accumulated so far this season.
Whatever happens, the picture for each club will be clearer as soon as the final whistles blow around the country on Friday night, and September 1st could be an evening they all look back on, when they assess their 2023 seasons in a couple of months time.
Fans will be able to watch how it all unfolds, with the Shamrock Rovers v Bohemians game being shown live on Virgin Media Two with a kick-off time of 7.45pm, while every other game is available on LOITV.