Just three points separate the clubs at the top of the SSE Airtricity Premier Division, although Dundalk’s vastly superior goal difference is effectively worth an additional point.
With only five games remaining in the campaign, it’s now all about Stephen Kenny’s team trying to stay sure-footed on the run-in while John Caufield’s men simply can’t afford to drop points if they are to have a chance of capitalising on any slip-up by the Lilywhites.
Although they must travel to Belfield this evening, Dundalk will be firm favourites against a UCD side who are scrapping to escape the relegation zone.
“We have five more cup finals to play,” says their former Cork City man Daryl Horgan. “Hopefully we can go now and get the win in every game. UCD are going to be tough — they’re all tough, but hopefully we can go and get the right result.”
Dundalk will be close to full strength while second from bottom UCD will be without Dean Clarke, Tomás Boyle and Mark Langrty, who are all injured, and Gareth Matthews, who misses out through suspension.
Kicking off at the earlier time of 7.05pm to facilitate live television coverage on RTÉ 2, Cork City will be looking to keep up the pressure on Dundalk when they host Sligo Rovers at Turner’s Cross.
Meanwhile, Limerick travel to Dalymount Park for a date with Bohemians boosted by the news that striker Rory Gaffney has been named the SSE Airtricity/Soccer Writers’ Association of Ireland Player of the Month for August.
Elsewhere in the Premier Division, St Patrick’s Athletic host Shamrock Rovers, Drogheda United are at home to Bray Wanderers and Derry City welcome Athlone Town to the Brandywell.
In the First Division, it’s Waterford United v Longford Town, RSC; Finn Harps v Shelbourne, Finn Park (8pm); and Shamrock Rovers B v Wexford Youths, Tallaght Stadium (8pm).
All games kick off at 7.45pm unless otherwise indicated.