Weekend previews Neil Ahern
Published 13/03/2010 | 05:00
Bohemians v Glentoran
(Dalymount Park, 5.15, Live, Setanta Irl)
Last season/current position: Bohemians 1st Glentoran 3rd (IFA Premiership)
Betting: Bohemians 4/9 Glentoran 6/1 Draw 13/5
Referee: A Buttimer (Cork).
Team news: Jason Byrne (hip) is out for the hosts while ex-Derry players Stephen Gray, Ruaidhri Higgins and Gareth McGlynn are all cup-tied -- as is Glentoran's Ciaran Martyn, who played for Derry.
Talking point: The Gypsies' progress to the semi-finals of the competition is already assured and, while a win tonight would ensure a home second leg in the semi-finals, Pat Fenlon is still likely to give some of his fringe players a chance .
Verdict: Home win.
Linfield v St Patrick's Ath
(Windsor Park, 5.15)
Current position/last season: Linfield 1st (IFA Premiership) St Patrick's 7th
Betting: Linfield 4/1 St Patrick's 8/13 Draw 12/5
Referee: D Malcolm (Bangor).
Team news: Linfield will be without the suspended Peter Thompson, while Jamie Mulgrew, Curtis Allen and Billy Joe Burns are all doubts.
The Saints are almost at full strength, with Noel Haverty, who has a hamstring injury, their only absentee.
Talking point: A semi-final place could be at stake here, although both teams will qualify -- one as the best runner-up from the tree groups -- if Glentoran lose to Bohemians. Linfield and Pat's drew 1-1 a fortnight ago and this encounter is likely to be every bit as tight.
Dundalk v Drogheda United
(Oriel Park, Tomorrow 4.30, Live, RTE2)
Last season: Dundalk 5th Drogheda 9th
Betting: Dundalk 4/7 Drogheda 9/2 Draw 12/5
Referee: D Hancock (Dublin).
Team news: Dundalk will be at full strength apart from long-term absentee Tiarnan Mulvenna, while the visitors will be without the suspended Paul Crowley and Eric McGill.
Talking point: The Boynesiders were hammered (3-0 and 4-2) both times they travelled up the M1 to their fiercest rivals last season and didn't beat them over the four games, so they will be out for revenge. They will also be attempting to atone for the terrible performance they produced when hammered 3-0 at home by UCD last week.
Verdict: Home win.