Limerick get a last chance to complete their great escape

Martin Russell’s side must beat Sligo away to have a chance of staying in Premier Division

Amid all the talk of shaking up the league structure so that there are more “meaningful” games, things seem to have taken care of themselves pretty well this time around with four of tonight’s six matches in the Premier Division having something significant at stake.

St Patrick's Athletic will be trying to hold off Bohemians and clinch the last place in Europe for next season while at the other end of the table Limerick will be aiming to complete what would be a truly great escape. Beyond that, UCD head to Finn Park hoping to succeed where quite a few others have failed in play-off games by overturning Harps' one goal lead from last week's first leg.

Home defeats

Limerick have lost a fair bit of their momentum over the last few weeks with three straight home defeats leaving them in need of a win tonight just to have a chance of making the play-off. The win in Galway in amongst those defeats suggests that they still have the potential to beat a Sligo side that is all but mathematically safe now at the Showgrounds. Given the goal difference situation, that would leave Drogheda needing to defeat

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away to stay up.

Martin Russell's Limerick travel without Lee Lynch ( suspended) but Sligo, whose manager Micky Adams sounded last week as if he expected this to be his last game in these parts, have quite a few problems with Tim Clancy and Gary Boylan suspended while Jason Hughes and John Russell are injured.

If Drogheda do win, Galway might yet be plunged back into trouble although they’d have to lose to St Patrick’s with the two results producing a combined turnaround in goal difference of eight.

St Pat's need just a point out of their trip to Eamonn Deacy Park to be virtually certain of fourth and the €200,000 that Europa League football brings these days. If they lose, though, and a Bohemians side that has Lorcan Fitzgerald, Stephen Best and Roberto Lopes available again beats Cork (who are themselves trying to prevent Shamrock Rovers stealing second place) then the Inchicore outfit will have to settle for the €10,000 that the FAI provides to the side finishing fifth.

Champions Dundalk will be hosting a party at which Bray Wanderers will pretty much be bystanders regardless of the result. The trophy will be presented to Stephen Kenny and his players afterwards and one or two, most obviously Richie Towell may well soon be saying farewell to Oriel.

Bristol Rovers have confirmed they are interested in the midfielder but then there is unlikely to be a shortage of offers for the 24 year-old who has been the league’s best player over the last two seasons.

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone is Industry and Employment Correspondent at The Irish Times