Dundalk aim to consolidate their lead at the top

Shamrock Rovers make eight changes for their second visit to Oriel Park in four days

Central defender Brian Gartland’s return to full fitness gives Dundalk a clean bill of health as they look to consolidate their lead at the top of the table when Shamrock Rovers visit Oriel Park for the second time in four days this evening.

Rested for that Setanta Sports Cup semi-final, second leg win, captain Stephen O'Donnell, leading scorer Patrick Hoban and Kurtis Byrne are also set to return to Stephen Kenny's starting line-up.

Having made eight changes on Tuesday, Rovers will field a much stronger side, though without the suspended Luke Byrne and winger Sean O'Connor who has a hamstring injury.

A calf problem also sidelines striker Dean Kelly, though manager Trevor Croly is hopeful midfielder Ryan Brennan is over a slight hamstring twinge.

Full training
Cork City defend the league's only unbeaten record when they host Drogheda at Turner's Cross. Striker Anthony Elding returned to full training this week and should be available for selection. Fellow strikers Danny Morrissey and Michael Rafter remain out injured, however, while manager John Caulfield awaits late checks on midfield anchor Colin Healy and defender Darren Dennehy.


Michéal Schlingermann remains Drogheda's only absentee as midfielder Paul Crowley should make the bench following injury.

Bohemians welcome club captain Dave Mulcahy back from injury as they defend their unbeaten away record against champions St Patrick's Athletic at Richmond Park. Defender Anto Murphy is still out with a hamstring injury and is joined this week by striker Dinny Corcoran (knee). Lee Murphy continues in goal for the suspended Dean Delaney.

Suspension rules St Pat's midfielders Greg Bolger and Killian Brennan out while defenders Ger O'Brien and Ken Oman require late fitness checks if they're to feature.

Setanta Cup finalists Sligo are brimful of confidence as they strive to edge up the table with only their second league win of the season against UCD at the Showgrounds.

While Gavin Peers and Raff Cretaro remain out, Sligo manager Ian Baraclough hopes to have both defender Jeff Henderson and midfielder Séamus Conneely back fit.

Doubtful participants
College are without suspended defender Hugh Douglas; winger Ayman Ben Mohamed is out with a knee injury while knocks leave Ian Ryan (foot) and Dean Clarke (back) doubtful participants.

Goalkeeper Shane Redmond returns from suspension for Bray as they host Derry in a 5pm kick-off. Their hopes of building on the 2-0 win at Drogheda last week are hampered by a glut of injuries, however, as Graham Kelly, Danny O'Connor, Jake Kelly, Eric McGill, Shane Byrne, Shane O'Connor and Adam Hanlon are all ruled out.

Central defender Ryan McBride (concussion) is sidelined for Derry who are also without midfielder Barry Molloy and striker Barry McNamee (knee).

Limerick report central defender Michael Leahy is back fully fit leaving winger Danny Galbraith manager Stuart Taylor's only injury absentee for the visit of bottom side Athlone Town to Thomond Park.

Right-back Stephen Quigley is suspended for Athlone. Manager Mick Cooke is again also without fellow defenders Aidan Collins (shoulder) and Neil Harney (dead leg).