A decisive weekend in LOI!

LOI TV commentator Kieran Burke previews a massive weekend of LOI football.

The League of Ireland Premier Division title race could be concluded over the coming days while the battle to qualify for the play-offs in the First Division will end on Friday night as the final round of regular season matches are played out in the second-tier.

Starting in the top-flight, Shamrock Rovers could claim a historic fourth consecutive league title on Monday evening away to Cork City but first they must put a tricky Drogheda United team to one side at Tallaght Stadium on Friday.

The Hoops are four points clear at the top with a game in hand and are currently on an eight-match unbeaten run in the league.

Drogheda, who won’t have any away support present on Friday due to an FAI punishment, have only claimed one win in their last five matches but they held Rovers main title rivals Derry City to a scoreless draw before the international break and are currently unbeaten in six league matches against the Champions, including a win in Tallaght earlier this season. This will be no gimmie for the Hoops.

Even should Rovers slip up, their main rivals have some very tough games of their own with Derry City at home to an in-form Shelbourne and St.Pat’s away to Bohemians in a dress rehearsal for the FAI Cup final next month.

Elsewhere in the top-flight, Sligo Rovers host Dundalk in a dead rubber for two sides who have had disappointing seasons while a similar comment applies to the meeting of already relegated UCD and play-off-bound Cork City.

In the First Division, it will either be Athlone Town or Treaty United who qualify for the promotion play-offs on the final night of the regular season. Athlone are in the driving seat with a two-point cushion and they have home advantage against local rivals Longford, whom they have beaten three times this season.

As for the Limerick side Treaty, who were subject to an interesting Canadian-based takeover last week, Tommy Barrett’s men must win away to a Waterford side who have handed Treaty some proper hammerings in recent years.

Treaty United would in fact need to make history and win at the RSC for the first time ever if they are to maintain their 100% record of reaching the play-offs since they joined the league in 2021. While such stats aren’t encouraging for Treaty, they will take heart from the fact they came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 against their fellow Munster men in August, and with Waterford already focusing on the start of the play-offs, perhaps Treaty can cash in as the more determined side for the three points.

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