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Dublin: 13 °C Thursday 24 April, 2014

3 things to look out for in this weekend’s Airtricity League

Premier Division leaders St Pat’s are in Belfield while there is an FAI Cup semi-final double header on Sunday.

Pat's striker Christy Fagan and Barry McCabe of UCD.
Pat's striker Christy Fagan and Barry McCabe of UCD.
Image: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

1. St Pat’s close in on title

WITH JUST THREE GAMES to play, champions-elect St Patrick’s Athletic can move even closer to the clinching the Premier Division with a win at the Belfield Bowl.

The Saints hold a three-point advantage at the top of the table with a game in-hand on Dundalk so three points against the Students would all but wrap up a first title since 1999.

Liam Buckley is unbeaten against tonight’s opponents during his second spell with Pat’s — having recorded dour wins and a draw against UCD in the recent meetings.

They may have gone down at the hands of Cork last weekend but Martin Russell’s side are three points clear of Bray Wanderers and Shelbourne

2. Cup throws up extra Louth derby

They ensured European football for next season on Monday night thanks to a superb hat-trick by Richie Towell in the 3-0 win over Derry at Oriel Park.

This weekend, attention turns to the FAI Ford Cup as the Lilywhites make the short trip to Hunky Dorys Park to face rivals Drogheda in the last four.

Stephen Kenny’s men have enjoyed two wins and a draw against the Drogs this year but the home side will be keen to get the better of their Louth rivals in the 153rd meeting between the sides.

3. Sligo host the Hoops

The second of two semi-finals televised on RTE on Sunday sees Shamrock Rovers travel to the Showgrounds to face Sligo Rovers.

The Bit O’Red, who have seen their attempts to retain the Premier Division title fall short, knocked cup holders Derry out in at the quarter-final stage through Rafa Cretaro’s winner and are sure to be desperate for some silverware.

Similarly, the Hoops’ league form hasn’t been up to scratch. Under Trevor Croly, they have picked up the Setanta Sports Cup and EA Sports Cup but are 16 points off St Pat’s in the table. A third trophy could go some way to making up from their disappointing league campaign.

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