Treaty United v UCD, Markets Field, 7.45pm
Sunday's pair of games probably turn more heads but the FAI Cup quarter-finals get underway tonight, with simultaneous games on Shannonside and in Waterford.
UCD are in buoyant mood following their recent upturn of form in the league. The Students nipped ahead of Finn Harps in the suddenly cut-throat relegation battle, following their 3-2 win at home to Dundalk last week.
Andy Myler's side have won three of their past seven league games, an impressive burst given they had registered only one league win all season prior to that.
Harps, and their redoubtable manager, have acquired a reputation of the league's great survivors in recent years but UCD are putting the shivers up them in 2022.
Teenager Tommy Lonergan struck a brace in the 3-2 win over Dundalk, and had done the same in their last FAI Cup outing, away to Galway United in Eamonn Deacy Park.
Treaty United manager Tommy Barrett hasn't been enthused by the size of the Markets Field crowds this season but a Cup quarter-final may entice some of the locals.
Treaty, in their second season back in the league, have effectively guaranteed their place in the First Division promotion playoff - not an especially lofty target given that fifth position in a nine-team division will suffice.
Their 2-1 win over Bray Wanderers last week, combined with Wexford's defeat in Athlone, effectively scotched the notion that anyone might usurp them in fifth place, with nine points now separating them from Wexford.
The Limerick outfit have avoided League of Ireland opposition until now in this year's Cup, demolishing Usher Celtic and Maynooth University Town 5-0 and 3-0 respectively. Top scorer Enda Curran, signed from Galway United at the beginning of the season, has 10 goals in the league thus far, adding a couple more in their relatively straightforward Cup run.
Waterford FC v Dundalk, RSC, 7.45pm
On paper, it doesn't look a promising prospect for the home side but their illustrious visitors are looking uncommonly vulnerable.
Dundalk have been in freefall since their league title hopes were effectively buried in Tallaght. They have 'won' only one of their last four league games, and that coming courtesy of Sligo's difficulties with the disciplinary process.
The Lilywhites lost 2-0 on the pitch at the Showgrounds but were subsequently awarded a 3-0 win as the hosts had fielded the suspended Adam McDonnell. Otherwise, they've lost 3-0 to the Hoops, been held to a goalless draw by Shelbourne and suffered a 3-2 reversal against relegation battlers UCD.
Threatening a title challenge a month or so ago, now their hold on third spot is effectively gone, with the in-form St Pat's two points adrift with a game in hand.
In the midst of all that, they made strikingly heavy weather of their FAI Cup last-16 game away in Ferrycarrig Park, Wexford taking them to extra-time, Robbie Benson's penalty finally settling the tie in the 109th minute.
Waterford, fancied to be among the promotion chasers at the outset, have endured a typically chaotic season. Iain Morris' services were swiftly dispensed with after a poor start to the campaign. Danny Searle has since steadied the ship and the club has marched up the First Division table, guaranteeing their place in the playoffs, albeit far too late to threaten the top of the table.
In August, the club changed ownership - again - with Richard Forrest selling to Fleetwood Town owner Andy Pilley. They have, however, stuttered a bit in the league lately, with no win in three since a vital 2-1 win at home to promotion rivals Galway United.
They've been giant killers in the Cup already this season, famously upending St Pat's 3-2 in Richmond Park in the First Round - perhaps taking advantage of a home side jaded after their exploits in Sofia a few days previously. In Round 2, they pummeled Malahide Town in a 6-0 mauling.
Watch live coverage of the Extra.ie FAI Cup quarter-final between Derry City and Shamrock Rovers on 18 September (kick-off, 5pm) on RTÉ2 and the RTÉ Player
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