Dundalk v Cork City, 7.45pm (Live on RTÉ2)
After two draws in succession, Dundalk find themselves in the last chance saloon knowing nothing less than victory will do against Cork City tonight as the SSE Airtricity League title race comes down to a most fascinating conclusion.
It has been a terrific season for Stephen Kenny’s men as they bid to add the league title to an EA SPORTS Cup they picked up just over a month ago.
Oriel Park is a sell-out as the club bid for their first league crown since 1994/1995.
Speaking to dundalkfc.com, defender Andy Boyle said he is looking forward to the occasion and feels it takes on a ‘Cup final’ mentality, however, he is anticipating a tough game with the Rebels.
"We have guys who have been here before and done it," he said.
"We have guys who know how to win trophies, which is a good help but it’s all down to us on the night, and we are all looking forward to the game. We can’t wait for it. It's essentially a cup final for both teams.
"Cork City are a very good side. They are there for a reason. They have been very good all season and have been tough to beat all year. We have played them twice this season and won both but that means nothing really now. They were difficult games for us and we expect nothing different now.
"We are at home and the fans have been brilliant all year. They really have. They have given us great support through the year and to have the final day and the big game at Oriel Park is fantastic."
For the match itself, Dundalk will be without striker David McMillan, who continues his recovery from an ankle ligament operation, while Simon Kelly is doubtful with a persistent calf problem.
City went top of the table following their 1-0 win over Bohemians last Friday night. That was the Leesiders' sixth league win in-a-row.
The sides have met twice this season, with Dundalk claiming wins on both occasions
Boss John Caulfield was full of praise for his side ahead of the dramatic final day: "It’s been a long season and it has been fantastic. We have been under pressure all season; we started well, then we had a bit of a blip and people thought we were gone, but we came back again.
"There is great credit due to the lads who have shown a tremendous attitude, great desire and worked so hard. Between the players and the crowd they kept the whole thing going, and now we are down to the last match with everything to play for, which is a fantastic situation.
"We know it will be very difficult; we know we need to give a top performance up there which we are well capable of doing. I believe that if we do that, then we will win the league. If we give a top performance and they are better than us, then we will shake their hands and congratulate them."
Ross Gaynor is a major doubt ahead of the game.
Caulfield will assess Gearóid Morrissey’s fitness closer to the game, while Danny Morrissey and Michael Rafter are both definitely ruled out.
Bohemians v Derry City, 7.45pm
Bohemians manager Owen Heary looks set to take charge of his final game with the club as they welcome Derry City to Dalymount Park.
Heary is set to take over as manager of Sligo Rovers, possibly as soon as Saturday, after an impressive first full season as manager of Bohs.
He is attempting to keep his players focused on a victory to secure 40 points and seventh position in the league.
"It would be a great achievement for the team and for the club to make seventh, as well as having reached a cup quarter-final and a cup-semi-final," the manager said.
"We’ll play with the same kind of intensity as we have been, and we'll aim to finish the season on a high. It would be nice to be able to say we beat the cup finalists."
Dave Mulcahy, Anto Murphy and Stephen Best are suspended, while Derek Pender and Dan Byrne are out injured.
The Candystripes are looking to gather some momentum ahead of the FAI Ford Cup final against St Patrick’s Athletic on 2 November.
Speaking ahead of the game, manager Peter Hutton said: "The cup final has been a bit of a distraction ahead of this game but we need to prepare for it as we would any other game. It's very important that we get a good result which will see us in good form heading into the final."
Rory Patterson is suspended, while Patrick McEleney (heel), Shaun Kelly (calf) and Barry McNamee (groin) are all injured.
UCD v Drogheda United, 7.45pm
UCD host Drogheda United knowing that a win will guarantee their place in the relegation play-off against either Galway or Shelbourne.
A 1-0 win in Derry last week looked to have secured the 11th position in the league but Athlone also picked up a shock victory away from home against St Pat's to keep the relegation battle going until the final day.
Prior to the win in The Brandywell, UCD's form had been extremely poor and they will need to dig deep tonight to avoid automatic relegation.
Manager Aaron Callaghan was thrilled with last week's long-awaited win and is hoping for more of the same.
"I thought we played very well against Derry, Mark Langtry scored a brilliant goal on his return, we played some good football, and everyone put their bodies on the line to hold out for the win. Ian Ryan was exceptional at the back and made a number of vital tackles and also had that crucial clearance off the line.
"A win will get us into the play-off regardless of what Athlone do, so we just have to focus on our own game and forget about what is going on in Athlone."
Drogheda occupy eighth position but if results go their way tonight they could finish in the top half.
United boss Damien Richardson said he is looking for a positive conclusion to the campaign: "I have no doubt that we will be as motivated as UCD will be. I think this Drogheda side has a great honesty and desire to represent the club to the highest degree.
"It is a huge game for UCD and we owe it to the league and to our fans to put our best side out and get a result. We will be doing our very best to finish the season off with three points."
Mick Daly, Cathal Brady and Daire Doyle are all injury doubts for Drogheda while Gavin Brennan is suspended.
The injury front is starting to clear up for UCD, with Dean Clarke the only absentee due to a knock.
Mark Langtry made his long-awaited return last week, while Tomas Boyle was fit enough to make the bench after he recovered from a hamstring injury which has kept him out for a number of weeks.
Samir Belhout will return to the side after he served his one game suspension against Derry City.
Hugh Douglas and Chris Mulhall will be out because of suspension.
Callaghan will also be in the stands as he serves the second game of his three game touchline suspension.
Athlone Town v Bray Wanderers, 7.45pm
Athlone Town play host to Bray Wanderers knowing that their Premier Division survival is not in their own hands as they attempt to secure a play-off spot and avoid automatic relegation.
They will hope that Drogheda, who play UCD away, can do Town and many of their former team-mates a favour by getting something from that game.
Manager Keith Long said: "It is our biggest game of the season and I hope the people of Athlone come out in numbers and get behind the players. It is a big night for football and the players will get a major lift if there is a big crowd present.
"The players are giving it their all to stay in the division and we will be ready for Friday. I expect a tough game against Bray but we can hopefully get a result and we can see where that leaves us at the final whistle."
Athlone are hoping that John Mulroy and Mark Hughes will be fit for selection.
Having secured their Premier Division status for next season following last week’s draw against Dundalk at the Carlisle Grounds, Bray Wanderers want to end their season on a high.
Boss Alan Mathews said he was very pleased with his side's performance last week: "I was disappointed we didn't manage to get all three points last Friday night, it was a great team performance from the lads against a side that have designs on winning the title.
"We will look to replicate that performance in Athlone and finish the season on a high."
The Wicklow side have no injury or suspension concerns.
Shamrock Rovers v Limerick, 7.45pm
Shamrock Rovers face an almost impossible task to secure third place as they host Limerick in Tallaght Stadium.
The Hoops will need three points against Martin Russell’s men, and hope St Patrick’s Athletic lose in Sligo, while also turning around a goal difference of 10.
It’s an extremely unlikely prospect but Hoops boss Pat Fenlon wants his side to finish the year on a good note.
He said: "Both Limerick and ourselves have been going well lately and have picked up some good results, so we expect it to be a tough game.
"Depending on how the game goes in Sligo, we could finish the season on the same points as St Pat’s and so we are keen to get the three points and give ourselves the chance to do that.
"I know most eyes will be on elsewhere tomorrow night, but I am expected a good game in Tallaght tomorrow and my aim is for us to finish on a positive note."
Limerick have eyes on a top half finish after their win over the Bit o’ Red last week.
They’ll require a Sligo defeat and a victory on the road to secure sixth place.
Russell is very pleased with how his players are performing ahead of the league finale.
"Players are having pride in performances and we still want to challenge the players to try to finish higher than last year. They have all bought into that and they all want to do that if possible.
"We’re hoping to go to Tallaght and put in a performance that gets us that position."
David O’Connor remains out for Rovers through injury, while Conor Kenna and Dean Kelly are suspended having reached four yellow cards.
Limerick are without top scorer Rory Gaffney who serves a one-match ban.
He has netted 14 of Limerick’s 37 league goals this term.
Manager Martin Russell must also again do without the services of left-back Robbie Williams (hamstring) and winger Jack Doherty (hip flexor). Jason Hughes continues to recover from a knee injury.
Joseph Ndo is available again having sat out last week’s visit of Sligo due to the terms of his loan agreement.
Sligo Rovers v St Patrick's Athletic, 7.45pm
A win for the home side would confirm Sliigo Rovers finish the season in fifth place though a draw is likely to be enough.
Interim manager Gavin Dykes said of the opposition: "They are in the same position as we were a year ago. We had won the league but didn’t quite push on to retain it.
"But they have a cup final to look forward to last week like we did too. I still think on their day they are the best side in the country."
Rovers are hopeful of having keeper Gary Rogers back for the game as he has returned to training this week but Gavin Peers, Alan Keane, Jeff Henderson, Iarfhlaith Davoren and John Russell are out injured, while Raffaele Cretaro is suspended.
St Pat’s are all but guaranteed to finish their title-defending season in third place.
They are likely to rest several first-team players ahead of next week's FAI Ford Cup final.
FIRST DIVISION PLAY-OFF SECOND LEG
Shelbourne (0) v Galway FC (2), 8pm
Galway FC carry a two-goal lead into the second leg of the SSE Airtricity League First Division Play-off at Tolka Park.
Shels boss Johnny McDonnell is optimistic that his side can turn the tie around.
"It's only half-time. I know its 2-0 but we're quite capable of bouncing back, but it's definitely going to be a difficult task," he said.
"We've obviously got to be very offensive in what we are trying to do, but in saying that you can't go mad either because the first goal in this game is going to be really vital, so it'll be a bit of a chess game for a while, but we've got to really have a go then and we've got to try and get the first goal.
"We can't leave ourselves open at the back – we've got to stay in the tie as long as possible – and if we can get the first goal and push forward then - we could end up going to extratime . I'm very confident of us winning the game."
On the injury front, Darren Tinnelly, Willo McDonagh, Brian Gannon are all ruled out.
Galway manager Tommy Dunne insists it has been business as usual throughout the week in the lead up to the game.
"We did our recovery session on Saturday and we trained on Monday and Tuesday and we'll train again tonight. We're getting ready," he said.
"We can't pre-empt anything, whether Johnny McDonnell decides to change a few bits - we don't know. We've got to be ready for everything that's thrown at us.
"We're hoping we can enforce our own game on the match. At the end of it all, it's a cup final, we had a decent first half but we have to have a decent second half now as well."
Winger Aaron McDonagh (appendix) has been ruled out.