Cork City v Shamrock Rovers, Turner’s Cross, 7.45pm (Live on RTÉ2 and the RTÉ Player from 7.30pm)
A game that feels oddly pivotal despite arriving so early in the season. Cork have suffered a ropey start to 2019 and the early signs are that the modern duopoly with Dundalk is in the process of being broken up.
Tonight, they meet the team who are doing more than most to threaten the status quo. Stephen Bradley has weathered bad days and negative commentary as Shamrock Rovers boss and his team has made a superb start to the season, winning seven from nine and sitting seven points clear of the champions Dundalk, albeit having played two games more.
Caulfield's team will be anxious to bounce back after that grim defeat in Oriel Park, but Rovers are in confident mood.
It promises to be an intriguing night on Leeside, with tributes sure to be paid to the late Pat McAuliffe, a man so associated with nights in Turner's Cross and sport in Cork generally.
The RTÉ cameras will be on hand to bring you the game live with coverage starting at 7.30pm on RTÉ2.
Cork City Alan Bennett, Seán McLoughlin and Dan Casey will all be assessed closer to kick-off. Colm Horgan is out having picked up an injury last Friday and Daire O'Connor is also ruled out. Matty Gillam has returned from Rochdale, having returned from his hamstring injury, but the game comes too soon for him.
Shamrock Rovers Sam Bone is not expected to feature, but Trevor Clarke should be okay for the trip to Leeside. Ethan Boyle and Dan Carr will have fitness tests, but are likely to be fit for selection.
John Caulfield (Cork City): "Rovers have started the season on fire and built up a lead at the top of the table already, although they have played a couple of games more than everyone else. For the last couple of years, Stephen has been building for a title challenge, this seems like the year it could happen, with the way they have started.
"In the last couple of years coming down here, and particularly last year, they played cagey and got a draw"
"They'll be looking at the fact that beating us will keep them well ahead. At the same time, we've done a lot of work this season, the lads who have come in have done well. Obviously, some of the results haven't gone as well as we would have liked, but here's an opportunity for us to bounce back."
"In the last couple of years coming down here, and particularly last year, they played cagey and got a draw. This year, they are high-flying and scoring lots of goals, you'd imagine they see this as an opportunity to put more distance between us and them.
"We need to be at our best and we know that."
Stephen Bradley (Shamrock Rovers): "It’s a game that we are really looking forward to and it’s a game that we are ready for. We know it will be a really tough game against a team full of top players but I believe we are ready to go and get three more points on the board."
Finn Harps v Derry City, Finn Park, 7.45pm
Rock-bottom Harps welcome Derry City for their first derby of the season. The home side come in off the back of victory over Sligo Rovers in the EA Sports Cup on Monday night, but are still seeking their first league win of the campaign after nine games.
The Candystripes, as usual so formidable at home, are without an away win to date, but three points would put pressure on Bohs in third place.
Finn Harps Raffaele Cretaro and Niall McGinley have joined Harry Ascroft, Mark Timlin and Gareth Harkin on the injury list, while John Kavanagh, who missed the cup victory game due to a hamstring problem, is doubtful. Mark Coyle is suspended.
Derry City Declan Devine has no fresh injury concerns. Patrick McClean has trained all week and Peter Cherrie was also ready to return after missing a couple of games through injury.
Ollie Horgan (Finn Harps): "Derry are fourth in the Premier Division. You only have Shamrock Rovers, Dundalk and Bohemians above them so we’re going to have to lift our game big time to have a chance of getting even a point from the game.
"We cannot get carried away with one positive result otherwise Derry will win at a canter"
"They are nine points above us in the table so our lads know what they are facing into and it’s going to be a savage battle to be up to speed with the way Derry play going forward. We have to hope that the win on Monday night, even though it was the League Cup, gives us that bit of confidence but we just cannot get carried away with one positive result otherwise Derry will win at a canter.
Declan Devine (Derry City): "In all my time managing and playing in the league, I have never had an easy game in Ballybofey. It has been a really difficult place to go for the top three and I’m expecting exactly this time around.
"Cork needed four goals to win there and Rovers needed a very late winner, while Dundalk only managed a draw."
St. Patrick’s Athletic v Dundalk, Richmond Park, 7.45pm
The sides meet for the second time this week, with St Pat’s looking to avenge Monday’s 2-1 EA Spots Cup defeat.
Georgie Kelly opened the scoring for the visitors after just five minutes but James Doona levelled shortly after, before Dean Jarvis got the winner shortly after the half-hour mark.
With a seven point gap with two games in hand on leaders Shamrock Rovers, Vinny Perth’s side will be seeking to maintain their unbeaten run on the road (one win, two draws). St Pats’ form at home has been patchy, one win, draw and loss from their previous outings and currently sit in seventh position, four points clear of the dropzone.
Pat's were fancied by many at the outset and made a promising start to the season points-wise, even if their wins were ground out somewhat. Since then, results have turned against them and they enter this game against the champions having lost three on the bounce.
Harry Kenny felt his side gave a good account of themselves in the cup defeat on Monday, but they need to start putting more points on the board if they are to make a push for Europe.
St. Patrick’s Athletic Saints' manager Harry Kenny is without Mikey Drennan through suspension, while Dean Clarke is ruled out with concussion. Brandon Miele will face a late fitness test on an injury picked up in last week's 1-0 defeat to Bohemians.
Dundalk To come
Harry Kenny (St. Patrick’s Athletic) "A win gives you loads of confidence. We're due a win. I think we have deserved more for our play in the recent past and a win would certainly give us a lift going into the next few games and it will give the lads a bit of encouragement as there is nothing better than winning games."
Vinny Perth (Dundalk) To come
UCD – Waterford FC, UCD Bowl, 7.45pm
Early signs suggest that UCD will be battling it out with Finn Harps to avoid the automatic relegation spot but they may have designs on catching Sligo Rovers and those above them in the hopes of dodging the playoff.
They claimed their only win of the season against Harps, a crucial 3-0 win in the Belfield Bowl which gives them a clear edge in that battle. As ever, the Students play neat football and, after early season woes, may be acclimatising that bit better to life than their fellow promoted side.
Waterford will be looking to exact revenge for last season’s FAI quarter-final defeat, the last time the sides crossed paths. Alan Reynolds' side will surely enter the encounter in bullish mood after two commanding victories over St Pat's and Finn Harps.
UCD An Achilles injury rules Evan Osam, while Conor Davis (knee) and Neil Farrugia (calf) are doubts.
Waterford FC Rory Feely, Maxim Kouogun and Kenny Browne are injured, while JJ Lunney misses out through illness.
Collie O’Brien (UCD): "We were very good in our last home game against Finn Harps where we secured a big 3-0 victory, and again in the second half against Shamrock Rovers last week, and then we showed great character to turn it around against Shelbourne on Tuesday."
I'm sure Waterford will be coming here seeking revenge for last year's FAI Cup Quarter Final. They had a great win last week against Finn Harps and will be looking to push on now over the coming weeks. However we know that if we play the way we have been and can take the chances that come our way then we have every chance of picking up a good result."
Alan Reynolds (Waterford FC): "We did well to beat Finn Harps and then Galway on Monday and that’s the form we need to carry with us. There’s a long way to go but we’re just looking to build on each game as it comes.
"We remember the game up there last season where they beat us so we know they're a good side. They were unlucky against Rovers; we’ll be well prepared for it."
Watch live coverage of Cork City v Shamrock Rovers at Turner’s Cross from 7.30pm (kick-off 7.45pm) on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player