UCD on the cusp of booking their return to the top flight

Cork City travel to Dalymount aiming to cut the gap with leaders Dundalk

Collie O’Neill: “It’s a huge game for us. We know it’s not going to be easy,” said the UCD boss whose side face second-placed Finn Harps. Photograph: Inpho

Collie O’Neill: “It’s a huge game for us. We know it’s not going to be easy,” said the UCD boss whose side face second-placed Finn Harps. Photograph: Inpho

 

Brimful of confidence having knocked Premier Division side Waterford out of the FAI Cup last week, First Division leaders UCD can achieve their season’s ultimate goal by sealing their return to the top flight on Friday night when second-placed Finn Harps visit the UCD Bowl.

Five points clear at the top of the table, Collie O’Neill’s side need just one point from their remaining two games to win the title and automatic promotion.

Given Harps must win to retain any hope of winning the league themselves, O’Neill will want a repeat of last week’s composed and clinical display from his young team to get them up tonight.

“It’s a huge game for us,” said O’Neill. “They’re a good footballing side; they’re on a good run, but so are we, it’ll be a good contest. Even though it’s first against second, we’re not treating the game any differently than we have all our other games this year. We know it’s not going to be easy.”

In the top flight, Cork City can narrow the gap between themselves and leaders Dundalk (who are idle this weekend) to three points against Bohemians at Dalymount Park.

But the champions may have their work cut out to do so against Keith Long’s in-form Gypsies who’ve not conceded a goal in winning their last six games in all competitions.

“It’s the time of the season where you have to be at your best,” said Cork manager John Caulfield, whose side have won all three games between the clubs so far this season.

“Bohs are on a great run and are still in the cup as well, so they’ve everything to play for. From our point of view, we’re trying to close the gap and we want to see if we can pick up the three points.”

Injured defenders Colm Horgan, Johnny Dunleavy and Seán McLoughlin miss out for Cork who also wait for word on Alan Bennett.

Impressive left-back Darragh Leahy is an injury doubt for Bohemians who are without Danny Grant and Ryan Masterson.

Tonight’s fixtures
(7.45 unless stated)

Premier Division
Bohemians v Cork City (Live on RTÉ2. 7.35)
Shamrock Rovers v Limerick (8.0)
Waterford v Bray Wanderers

First Division
Cabinteely v Shelbourne
Drogheda United v Longford Town
Galway United v Wexford
UCD v Finn Harps

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