It won’t offically be the coronation but should Dundalk beat Derry City this evening, you can be sure that the title celebrations will be long and loud at Oriel Park.
A win in front of their home crowd will put Dundalk 12 points clear of Cork City with only four games remaining, the Lilywhites’ superior goal difference of 24 effectively counting as the extra point that would take them over the line.
Not that Stephen Kenny’s men will allow any complacency tonight.
We still have a job to do and we must still be professional,” says Pat Hoban. “It’s all ifs and buts but if Cork had not dropped points against Sligo and Bohs we would have been tied on points going down to Turner’s Cross and the game in hand would have been a lot more important. But now with four games to go, I would like to fancy us winning the league, to be honest.
You could even say that the celebrations began in Cork last Friday as the visiting fans stayed behind to serenade their heroes after a 1-0 win over the closest rivals.
“We knew that it was not going to be easy down in Cork but we also knew that we had to start the game well,” says Hoban. “That’s what we did and everyone did really well. We wanted to go and score another goal because we knew that there would be some pressure from them. But we held on to the 1-0 win and deservedly so. We now have a good cushion going into the last four games.”
This is precisely the kind of scenario which drew the ace striker back from England to Oriel Park.
Absolutely, at the start of the season I set myself a target to win trophies and I knew that there was a lot of capability in this squad to do that,” he says. “And with the desire and drive that Stephen Kenny has got a, you are always going to be there or thereabouts.
“As the season went along I fancied us to win the league. It’s not done yet but we are nearly there.”
Kick off at Oriel Park this evening is at 8pm.