Three days can be a long time in football; even longer if you are trying to juggle a three-in-a-row title race with the group stages of European competition.
With four games to go in the ongoing SSE Airtricity League Premier Division title race, Shamrock Rovers are in prime position to make it three titles on the bounce, five points clear with four games remaining.
But Derry City are making the Hoops work for their silverware, as they once again heaped the pressure on Stephen Bradley's side by narrowing the gap to two points with their sixth league win in succession, beating Finn Harps 3-0 on Friday night.
At the same time, the Hoops were licking their wounds after getting outplayed and comprehensively beaten 3-0 by Norwegian league leaders Molde on Thursday night.
A significant low in a season of highs for the Hoops, where team selection became a real topic of discussion as Bradley opted to leave Jack Byrne, Graham Burke and Rory Gaffney on the bench.
Talk of qualification to the knock-out stages of the Europa Conference League ahead of that game against Molde, the remaining games might now bring about a modicum of damage limitation at the end of an exhausting season.
Things looked like they were going from bad to worse for Rovers by the time they regrouped for their league game with Shelbourne on Sunday, as Bradley’s side went behind, not once, but twice, and entered the final ten minutes at a windswept Tallaght Stadium staring defeat firmly in the face.
Daniel Cleary’s equaliser in the 86th minute was certainly a vital step to steady the ship for the Hoops, however, the best was yet to come as Rovers won it with virtually the last kick of the game.
The aforementioned trio were still going strong when that potentially league-winning goal finally arrived in the 95th minute of the game, with the in-form striker Gaffney latching onto a Byrne corner to win the game and justify the manager’s motives.
"It's probably just tired bodies at the minute, but we just have to keep going," said Gaffney after the game.
The in-form striker was ear-marked by the Molde manager as the main threat from Rovers ahead of that game, but the Norwegian side did not encounter Gaffney until the game was almost out of sight, coming on in the 55th minute with the scoreboard at 2-0.
Back-to-back fixtures sees Rovers take on the Norwegians tonight at Tallaght Stadium, and there is every chance that Gaffney and co will, once again, start the game on the bench as a result of league commitments, although the manager has hinted that he has the luxury of naming a stronger side for the home game without the logistical issues that come with European away days.
A huge seven days awaits Rovers after tonight’s game as they travel to Drogheda on Sunday before hosting St Patrick’s Athletic next Friday; two victories could be enough to secure the title if Derry fail to beat Shelbourne that night.
Should that be the case, Rovers would still have two European games to give a better account of themselves, however, there is a sense that the manager, the supporters and the club in general are already looking at making sure that they are in a position to take on that European task again next season.
"If we don’t win the league we won’t have the same opportunity next season," said Gaffney, following the Shelbourne win on Sunday. And it indicates that the players and manager are singing off the same hymn sheet in the matter of where priorities lie.
Rovers will, of course, still be looking for a better performance as they resume their battle with Molde tonight, however, it looks set to be a tough night against a side that will believe that they have the measure of their opponents following last week’s one-sided affair.
And the stats from last week’s game suggest that it will be more of the same with the Hoops only managing one shot at goal in the away fixture – an off-target one at that; Molde had 17 attempts on goal, while commanding 62% possession – the corner count was 12-0 in favour of the home side.
The home support and the familiarity of Tallaght Stadium will level the playing field to a certain extent, however, it is hard to see how the Hoops, in their current predicament, can compete against the higher-quality opposition.
But the Hoops have shown time and again that they are a different proposition on their home patch and have not been turned over all season at Tallaght Stadium, a run of results that included victories over Ludogorets and Fenencvaros.
So expect Rovers to play the Bradley way, working the ball out from the back, maintaining possession and attempting to work the ball up the field to play the game in the opponents’ half.
Bradley’s side managed to implement those tactics quite well in the last home game against Djurgardens, where they played out a creditable scoreless draw.
However, the early stages of that game were akin to several other big European fixtures this season, where Rovers struggled to cope with early pressure from their opponents.
Chris McCann and Simon Power are the only two absentees from the strong Rovers squad available to Bradley for selection, and with the side buoyed from Sunday’s result, perhaps, the manager might be tempted to go with strength from the start.
Molde have been virtually unstoppable in their title charge this season, however, they have produced a mixed bag of European results this season.
Should Rovers get through the opening 20 minutes unscathed, they will hope that those frailties will begin to present themselves and offer the Hoops a fighting chance of pulling off an unlikely result in what has been a remarkable season at Tallaght Stadium.
Watch the FAI Cup semi-finals, Derry City v Treaty United and Waterford FC v Shelbourne, live on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player from 1.45 pm on Sunday, listen to live updates on Sunday Sport on RTÉ Radio 1 with live blog on RTÉ.ie/sport and RTÉ News app