Dundalk v Derry City, Oriel Park, 7:45pm

The champions kick-off the opening night in of the season with an intriguing clash with Derry City - a side that tested them more than most last year. 

Both teams have recruited from home and abroad, with Dundalk going as far Serbia to bring in midfielder Stefan Colovic, as well as Republic of Ireland Under-21 defender Darragh Leahy. 

Derry have brought in Walter Figueira and new captain Conor McCormack, as well as prolific Norwegian striker Tim Nilsen and Moussa Bakayoko from Ivory Coast. Stephen Mallon has impressed in pre-season too. 

Team news

Dundalk: John Mountney remains out after having a minor operation. Sean Murray also has a knock. Stefan Colovic isn't available for selection just yet. 

Derry City: No major concerns for the visitors, with Declan Devine set to hand a clutch of off-season recruits their league debuts.

Gaffer / Player talk

Andy Boyle (Dundalk): "It has been a good pre-season. We had some good games against good opposition – Cluj and CSKA Moscow. They are good sides and it was great to test ourselves against that kind of opposition going into the season.

"I feel for myself it has went well. I have been in good form myself, as a team it has been good and we have worked on a lot of things.

"Everything has been geared towards tomorrow night and we are all looking forward to it."

Robbie Benson

St Patrick's Athletic v Waterford FC, Richmond Park, 7:45pm

The Stephen O'Donnell era began late last year but his reign really kicks off now with a fresh squad and some creative recruitment too. 

Robbie Benson was the highlight, with Pat's also splashing out for Scottish striker Martin Rennie. The signs are good at Richmond Park. 

Waterford started their pre-season slowly but after commitment from Lee Power, Alan Reynolds has done well in the market and they will aim for a similar finish to last season (sixth). 

Team news

St Patrick's Athletic: Benson, Conor Kearns, Scottish duo Rennie and Billy King, Dan Ward, Shane Griffin, Jay McClellend and Ollie Younger, who has just signed for the Saints on loan from Burnley, are all available for the Saints who have no injury concerns. 

Waterford FC: Tyreke Wilson misses out due to an ankle injury, while Will Fitzgerald misses the game due to a groin injury.

Gaffer talk

Stephen O'Donnell (St Patrick's Athletic):  "I'm delighted with the squad we have.  All you can ask for in pre-season is attitude and application and from that end of it, I've been absolutely delighted.

"With both the players that have been here and the players that have come in, they have all really put their shoulders to the wheel and worked hard and got themselves in good condition. 

"That is what we are going to be demanding from the team and the squad: honesty of effort. That has been there in the pre-season and now we have to continue that on for the whole of the season."

Alan Reynolds (Waterford FC): "We're all looking forward to the season kicking off this weekend and the trip to Richmond Park on Friday night. The lads have put in a good pre-season, and they are raring to go. 

"You can play all the pre-season games you like, but nothing compares to walking out on a Friday night and hearing the fans getting behind you. A lot of the squad played here before or played against us so they are more than aware of how vocal our fans can be.

"We brought in a lot of new faces this season, and I’m delighted with what I have been able to sign. The lads that are here now are hungry to prove themselves, which will hopefully translate to good results for us as a team.

Neale Fenn

Cork City v Shelbourne, Turner's Cross, 7:45pm

Neale Fenn has had to look to the loan market and his Under-19 side to put together a squad, along with some decent recruits like Cory Galvin. 

Shelbourne are back in the big time following promotion from the First Division. Karl Sheppard and Gary Deegan offer much needed experience as Ian Morris looks to hot the ground running.

Team news

Cork City: Young strikers Cian Murphy and Cian Bargary are still making their way back from injury, while Conor Davis is also sidelined with a knock.

Shelbourne: The hosts have a clean bill of health for their league opener.

Gaffer talk

Neale Fenn (Cork City): We believe in what we are doing here, and when the fans see the work-rate, and the fans see the performance I have no doubt they will get behind this group of players.

"I have a good knowledge of how Shels play from last season, and they could be a contender for Europe so it's certainly a game we want to win.

"When I was a player Cork City v Shels was one of the biggest games of the season, and the fans remember that. I'm sure there will be a big crowd down from Dublin and that will only serve to add to the occasion." 

Ian Morris (Shelbourne): "Five months seems like a long time, but the lads have kept themselves ticking over in the off-season which has been a massive plus. 

"That's training as a group too, not just in isolation and has been done off their own back before pre-season started. It’s a really strong squad and everyone has trained this week for the first time ever, so that’s a great catalyst going into the new season.

"We've done our video work and background work on them and will be feeding that information to the players. Neale has built a strong squad down there."

Sligo boss Liam Buckley

Finn Harps v Sligo Rovers, Finn Park, 8pm

Both of these sides have been hit by pre-season injuries, with Mark Timlin (torn ACL) out for the year and John Mahon (broken leg) aiming to be back in late summer. 

Tonight will be a war of attrition and Sligo could be under the cosh if Harps start the year like they ended 2019, having beaten Drogheda 2-0 in the relegation play-off second leg to secure their safety. 

Team news

Finn Harps: Timlin looks like he'll miss the whole season but Barry McNamee could make his Harps debut.

Sligo Rovers: Mahon (broken leg) and Regan Donelon (shoulder) are out. Lewis Banks has responded well to treatment to a thigh problem and could feature – he will have a late fitness test. 

Gaffer talk

Ollie Horgan (Finn Harps): "We have a new side, a new panel of players. It will take time to get the best out of the group that's there," he told Highland Radio. "The standard has gone up. We have to try and get up with it."

Liam Buckley (Sligo Rovers): "We’ve brought the new players in to add to what we retained from 2019 and I think they will.

"They’re all here with a point to prove, be it coming into a new league or moving clubs or whatever else. They've bedded in well so far. 

"I’ve no doubt Ollie will be playing down Harps and we are whatever else but you can see by the signings with the likes of Barry McNamee that there is a greater strength and backing there this year so that is the challenge for any team that goes up there."

Follow all the weekend's SSE Airtricity League Premier Division action with our live blogs on RTÉ Sport Online and the News Now App, and watch Bohemians v Shamrock Rovers live on RTÉ2 from 1.30pm Saturday