Friday 25 May 2018

Battle to avoid relegation reaches fever pitch

St Pat's manager Liam Buckley. Photo: Sportsfile
St Pat's manager Liam Buckley. Photo: Sportsfile

It's safe to assume that fans of Sligo Rovers and Galway United will be hoping that Cork City do not win the league tomorrow night.

That's because the conclusion of the title race could have a significant impact on events at the other end of the table.

With Drogheda United already doomed and Finn Harps in need of a miracle, the battle to avoid the third relegation place has come down to a fight between St Patrick's Athletic, Sligo Rovers and Galway United.

St Pat's and Sligo both have 35 points, with the Saints ahead on goal difference (-9 to -14), while Galway have only 34 but have the best goal difference (-4).

With only two series of matches remaining, Galway now require favours and a key game could be the visit of Cork to Inchicore on Friday.

If the Leesiders secure the title then it would be no surprise if they travelled with a depleted squad, as the new priority would be managing the preparations for the FAI Cup final.

Last year Dundalk won the league and were promptly thrashed at Inchicore in their next game when they rested legs after enjoying their celebrations.

Sligo are at home to Derry on Saturday and then away to Drogheda, which is an attractive run-in.

Galway are away to Limerick, who are a point from safety after Saturday's win over Drogheda, and then host a Dundalk side that also has a Cup final on their mind.

Liam Buckley brings St Pat's to Derry on the final day. They may well need a positive result from the Cork match if they are to travel to Buncrana in control of their own destiny.

Irish Independent

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