It's the final night of the SSE Airtricity Premier Division season on Friday.

The title has been wrapped up for a number of weeks with Shamrock Rovers set to lift the trophy again against Drogheda United, live on RTÉ 2.

However two outstanding issues remain.

Fourth place will help decide the final team to play in Europe next year, while ninth spot determines the opponent for the First Division play-off winner in the relegation/promotion decider.

RACE FOR EUROPE

The table as it stands. Sligo Rovers have secured third place

Fixtures:

  • Dundalk v Derry City
  • Sligo Rovers v Bohemians

A European finish was possible for a host of teams due to the competitive nature of the season.

Sligo Rovers secured third spot earlier this month in what will be the Bit O’ Red’s highest league finish in eight seasons.

Three teams in theory are vying for fourth place but goal difference means it’s really between two.

Bohemians have two chances to seal the final European place in the next two weeks.

Keith Long’s side currently occupy fourth place in the table following a crucial 3-1 win over Shamrock Rovers last week.

They need to match or better Derry City’s result on Friday to stay there. If they do so, Europe beckons. Dundalk could end up level on points with these two sides if they emerge with the victory.

However their inferior goal difference makes it nigh on impossible for them to jump to fourth.

Should Derry do better than Bohs and sneak into that fourth spot, they would come into the mix.

The European place awarded to the winner of the FAI Cup would go to the Candystripes if St Patrick’s Athletic go on to lift the trophy as the Saints have already qualified by finishing second in the league.

If Bohs finish fifth, they can still make Europe by winning in Landsdowne Road next week.

AVOIDING THE PLAY-OFF

Longford Town are down, but ninth place must be decided

Fixtures:

  • Shamrock Rovers v Drogheda United
  • Waterford FC v St Patrick’s Athletic
  • Finn Harps v Longford Town

Again, the play-off was a scenario facing many sides in recent months. Dundalk escaped that potential nightmare thanks to picking up some home victories on the run-in.

We are down to three teams but Drogheda can really count themselves out. They have a 23-goal swing on one side so there is no chance that will be overturned.

It leaves Waterford and Finn Harps.

The fixture system has thrown up an odd situation as they are facing the same two teams for the final two games – Longford Town and St Patrick’s Athletic.

Waterford had been in pole position to avoid the play-off thanks to their remarkable run of form under Marc Bircham.

Mark Bircham has seen his team lose form at crucial stage of the season

However at a crucial time they have hit a flat spot. Bircham lambasted their players for shipping three goals to Shamrock Rovers.

Then last week's game in Longford was a massive one for the Blues and they conceded a penalty to only come away with a point.

Harps had the much more difficult fixture against Pat’s in Inchicore and battled for a 2-2 draw.

That gives Ollie Horgan’s side a significant edge. The teams are level on points going into Friday's games.

Harps will be big favourites to take the three points against already-relegation Town.

Longford have a record of five draws and 12 defeats from their 17 away matches this campaign.

With a seven-goal advantage, Harps know a win will guarantee their place in the top flight.

Any slip-up would allow Waterford back in. They host a Pat’s side preparing for the Cup final.

Stephen O’Donnell’s men have disappointed in the last few games in the league with their mind on the Aviva Stadium and they will be keen to sign off with a victory.

Waterford must better Harps' result or they face the play-off.

There will be an irony if the race comes down to goal difference.

Waterford had a Covid-19 outbreak in their camp in May which meant playing their Under-19 side against Drogheda and granting Sligo Rovers a walkover the following week. As well as the two defeats, it cost them 10 goals in scoring difference and that could well be key.

Whichever side does finish in ninth place, they'll be checking the result of the meeting of UCD and Bray Wanderers in Dalymount Park on Friday.

The winner of that game will face the ninth place team to decide on the line-up for the 2022 Premier and First Division seasons.