4 thoughts ahead of this weekend’s Airtricity League games

Ben Blake

1. pat’s to be officially crowned champions

AFTER RECORDING A 2-0 win over Sligo Rovers last weekend, St Patrick’s Athletic know that whatever the result against Derry, they will be lifting the Premier Division trophy in front of their fans come the final whistle tonight.

A first league triumph in 14 years comes thoroughly-deserved as Liam Buckley’s side have not only amassed the most points, but did so playing an attractive brand of football.

2. Seagulls bidding for survival

A rare win at home last weekend lifted Bray Wanderers off the bottom of the table and with Shelbourne losing out to Limerick last night, it would appear that the Dublin side will be playing First Division football next season.

The Seagulls only need a point from their remaining two fixtures in order to finish ahead of Shels in the promotion/relegation play-off spot. However, Pat Devlin will be still hopeful of claiming safety by catching UCD, who are three points better off.

First up, is Bohemians away tonight.

3. Players recognised with PFAI nominations

Yesterday saw the PFAI release their end-of-season nominations and, unsurprisingly, the Premier Division selections were dominated by St Patrick’s Athletic and Dundalk players.

The Saints have goalkeeper Brendan Clarke, defenders Ger O’Brien, Kenny Browne and Ian Bermingham and midfield pair Greg Bolger and Killian Brennan while the Lilywhites contingent is made up of trio Richie Towell, Patrick Hoban and Andy Boyle.

Bolger, Brennan, Towell and Hoban also make up the shorlist for Player of the Year.

Read the full list here

4. Alan Kelly confirms his departure

Widely-regarded as the country’s best referee, Alan Kelly has decided to leave Irish football after 14 years in the League of Ireland to take up a position in the US.

Kelly took charge of Wednesday night’s game between Limerick and Shelbourne so isn’t involved today or tomorrow but is likely to be officiate in his final game next weekend or possibly in the FAI Cup final.

On a side note, the PFAI revealed yesterday that Kelly will fight Shamrock Rovers star Sean O’Connor in a white collar boxing event in aid of Gary O’Neill.

Read our interview with Alan Kelly on The Score tomorrow morning

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