Sligo begin defence against Derry
Soccer:The Premier Division fixtures for the new Airtricity League 2013 season were released today and the opening series of matches on Friday, March 8th, will feature some mouth-watering ties.
League champions Sligo Rovers will begin the defence of their title away to FAI Cup holders Derry City while the first series of matches also features a Munster derby as First Division champions Limerick take on Cork City in the first ever Airtricity League game to be played at Thomond Park.
New Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny will open his reign at Oriel Park with a home game against Shamrock Rovers, the club he parted company with last September after just nine months in charge.
EA Sports Cup winners Drogheda United, who pipped St Patrick’s Athletic to the runners-up spot in last season’s Premier Division, must travel to Richmond Park for their opening game against the FAI Ford Cup runners-up while Bray Wanderers will entertain Shelbourne at the Carlisle Grounds and Bohemians host UCD at Dalymount Park in the first Dublin derby of the new season.
The format for the 2013 Airtricity League is similar to the 2012 season with the 12th placed team in the Premier Division at the end of the campaign being relegated and the champions of the First Division being promoted.
The second and third placed teams in the First Division will contest a two-legged play-off for the right to play the 11th placed team from the Premier Division over two legs for a place in the top flight in 2014.
The first round of the EA Sports Cup will take place on Monday, March 11th with the second round on May 20th and 21st and the quarter-finals on July 1st. The semi-finals are scheduled for August 5th and the final is on September 21st.
The first round of the FAI Ford Cup, featuring clubs from the intermediate and junior levels of the game, will take place on March 31st with the second round scheduled for June 2nd and the third round on August 25th. The quarter-finals are on September 15th while the semi-finals will take place on the weekend of October 6th and the final is at the Aviva Stadium on November 3rd.
The mid-season break will take place from June 17th until June 26th inclusive. The Premier Division fixtures issued today are subject to change depending on the outcome of the FAI Club Licensing process.
The fixtures for the 2013 Airtricity League First Division will be issued in due course.
For a full list of Premier Division fixtures please click here.