Dundalk travel to the RSC tonight knowing a win against Waterford would set up a title-clinching opportunity at home to nearest rivals Shamrock Rovers on Monday.
But in their quest for a treble — and with the EA Sports Cup already in the trophy cabinet — the defending champions are now very much in one-game-at-a-time mode.
Before beating Derry City on penalties to lift the League Cup, Vinny Perth’s team had seen off tonight’s opponents 3-1 to reach the semi-finals of the FAI Cup but the dynamic of that game was enough for striker Pat Hoban to be wary of the challenge the Blues.
“It was tough for us so we know what to expect when we go down there,” he said. “They are a good side and in the second half last week showed what they are about. We are looking forward to it though, we know what we have to do and we go there with confidence. We are in good form and hopefully we can start the weekend with a win.”
While they lost out to Dundalk in the cup, Waterford have been on a decent run of form in the league, picking up seven points from a possible nine and going into tonight’s game on the back of a 2-1 away win over Bohemians which followed an identical victory against Cork City and a draw with Derry City.
While Waterford boss Alan Reynolds, who hailed the Dalymount Park as “a massive win for us”, he felt his team didn’t do themselves justice in the cup against this evening’s visitors to the RSC.
“We were disappointed with the goals we conceded in the cup game,” he said. “You can’t give a team like Dundalk the time and space or they’ll punish you. We had a go in the second half. We scored and could have got another one or two so we took positives from that and will look to bring it into tonight’s match.”
Ten points behind Dundalk with six games remaining, Shamrock Rovers tonight host to St Patrick’s Athletic in Tallaght (8pm) before the Hoops travel to Oriel Park to take on the champions on Monday.
Tonight’s Premier Division fixture list (7.45pm unless stated):