(7.45pm unless stated)
Bohemians v Maynooth University Town , Dalymount Park
Maynooth’s 3-2 defeat of Cobh Ramblers in the last round, thanks to Jackson Ryan’s late winner, keeps the Kildare flag flying at a national level.
Bohs had a slightly different summer, with three European nights at the Aviva Stadium before PAOK ended a thrilling run, and considering Andy Lyons’s sensational strike knocked Shamrock Rovers out of the cup, all the ingredients are in the pot for a giant-killing banquet.
That is unlikely, even if Keith Long opts to rest regulars with an eye to Derry City on Monday, although this appears to be the Dubliners' best route into the lucrative Europa Conference League.
Even with the prolific Georgie Kelly suspended, Maynooth business student Promise Omochere should ensure a routine victory for Bohs in a game that shines a light on the fact that Co Kildare and its 250,000 population do not have a League of Ireland club.
Finn Harps v Dundalk, Finn Park, 8pm
The only Premier Division affair in the quarter-finals has defending champions Dundalk clinging to the chance of silverware and European football next season. The game comes in the slipstream of club chairman Bill Hulsizer blaming the fans for foreign signings failing to bring the club back to recent glory.
“Do I think the people have helped these kids we’ve brought in? Absolutely not.” Hulsizer told The Argus. “Think about it, these are kids who picked up their families or walked away from their families, gone to a strange country in which there has been nothing allowed. That’s not their fault, it’s not our fault and it’s not the Government’s fault but instead of trying to support them we’re berating them in the street.”
The disconnect between Florida-based owners the people of Dundalk continues. Harps have lost Johnny Dunleavy and Will Seymore to injury but an upset, that would be felt Stateside, is possible.
St Patrick’s Athletic v Wexford FC, Richmond Park
Unbeatable at home since fans returned to Inchicore, St Pat’s should make it eight wins on the bounce at Richmond Park against a Wexford FC outfit embroiled in a First Division relegation battle with Athlone Town.
Ian Ryan's team visit Dublin 8 with a league win over Cobh and impressive cup victories over Cabinteely and Killester United. Ryan's three-match suspension means that former St Pat's defender Lorcan Fitzgerald has a player-manager role against a Stephen O'Donnell side short of quality due to injured quartet Robbie Benson, John Mountney, Adam Murphy and Lee Desmond.
“They will be eyeing this game as a massive opportunity to really stake a claim as a club and as players, so we are going to have to be ready for that,” said O’Donnell. “It is a game we are really looking forward to. It’s the quarter-finals, and you are two games away from the Aviva.”
Not since 2014 have St Pat’s lifted the trophy.
UCD v Waterford, UCD Bowl
The arrival of Marc Bircham to Waterford last May had plenty of people shaking their heads in dismay after a glance through the Londoner's colourful past. Turns out the ex-QPR midfielder knows a little about this coaching lark, guiding the club off the bottom of the table, and they are currently a point clear of Dundalk.
“I’ve been sent off as a manager for choking someone out on the other team, in the other dugout, which I deserved,” said Bircham following last week’s 2-0 loss at Shamrock Rovers, “but I have never been done for dissent but I want to because at least I can get sent off and feel better about myself by telling [the officials] exactly what I think of them. But I’m biting my lip, I’m not doing it, I’m toeing the line and it’s not working for me. I don’t know what’s acceptable anymore.”
The referees come back under scrutiny on Friday night but if Waterford shut out UCD's Ireland under-21 striker Collie Whelan then Bircham can say whatever springs to mind ahead of the semi-finals.