Cassidy eyes title triumph to tee Shels up for crack at Cup glory
AFTER last night's dead-rubbers in the Premier Division where every league position of note was effectively decided before the final day, there's plenty at stake in the First Division as the last round of fixtures takes place tonight.
FAI Cup finalists Shelbourne sealed their promotion to the top flight on Tuesday, and they can claim their first piece of silverware since 2006 with a point against another fallen giant, Cork City, at Tolka Park.
A draw would probably be enough for the Rebels to clinch second. Their goal difference is far superior to third-placed Monaghan, who lie two points behind City in third.
Roddy Collins' charges travel to Athlone knowing that a win would at least secure a promotion/ relegation play-off against Galway United, but if Shels do them a favour by beating Cork, Monaghan could go straight up.
Limerick need to win their Munster derby against Waterford and hope that Monaghan fail to win in the midlands to sneak into the play-off. It promises to be a tense night and it is Shels fans and Alan Mathews who can relax the most.
It's been quite a fortnight for the Reds, who beat old rivals St Pat's in a Cup semi-final replay before a win over Finn Harps took them up. Winning the league is the next target and David Cassidy wants a medal to mark his fine season.
"We still want to win the league," he said. "We've got our promotion, but we have a great chance to win the league now and give the club a trophy before we go to the Aviva.
"We're not going to go thinking about the cup final at all, we want to win the league. We had three games before the Harps game -- three cup finals. We've won one, we want to go and beat Cork to win the league and then on Sunday morning we'll have a look at Sligo."
Cork manager Tommy Dunne knows that his side face a tough challenge to go up automatically.
"Promotion is at stake, but the league title is at stake also," he said. "We will be doing our best to win the match and to win the league."
The momentum is with Shels and if they can keep it going, it could be some day for them in the Aviva Stadium next Sunday.
How they stand -- Top two promoted, third place in promotion/relegation play-off against Galway United:
Shelbourne 68 +39
Cork City 66 +46
Monaghan Utd 64 +28
Limerick 63 +24
Tonight's Fixtures (Kick-off 7.45)
Athlone Town v Monaghan United, Lisseywollen; Limerick v Waterford United, Jackman Park; Mervue Utd v Finn Harps, Fahy's Field; Shelbourne v Cork City, Tolka Park; Wexford Youths v Salthill Devon, Ferrycarrig Park.