With the season’s finishing line in sight, the League of Ireland’s relegation-fighting sides are as tightly bunched as they’ve ever been.
Just three points are between five teams, from Galway in 11th to Limerick in 7th.
With five games to go, Finn Harps are in the water at the moment and face a tricky run-in. As Paul Hegarty pointed out on Saturday night, following the 2-1 defeat to Sligo Rovers in Ballybofey, there are 15 points still up for grabs.
On examination of the remaining fixtures, Harps are likely to require three wins to stay up, but even that might not be enough and a big worry for Harps supporters is the goal difference column.
Harps are actually in the drop zone by virtue of having a worse goal difference that St Patrick’s Athletic.
Given how tight the margins are looking, survival could well come down to goal difference. Aside from bottom club Drogheda, who are doomed, Harps have a far worse goal difference that any of their rivals.
Current position: 7th
Goal difference: -11
Remaining games: Cork City (h) Sep 22; St Patrick’s Athletic (a) Oct 7; Drogheda United (h) Oct 14; Galway United (h) Oct 20; Shamrock Rovers (a) Oct 27
Current position: 8th
Goal difference: -13
Remaining games: Galway United (a) Sep 22; Bohemians (h) Oct 7; Shamrock Rovers (a) Oct 13; Derry City (h) Oct 21; Drogheda United (a) Oct 27
St Patrick’s Athletic
Current position: 9th
Goal difference: -10
Remaining games: Bohemians (a) Sep 22; Shamrock Rovers (h) Sep 25; Limerick (h) Oct 7; Galway United (a) Oct 13; Cork City (h) Oct 20; Derry City Oct 27
Current position: 10th
Goal difference: -21
Remaining games: Shamrock Rovers (a) Sep 22; Dundalk (h) Oct 7; Derry City (a) Oct 13; Drogheda United (h) Oct 20; Bohemians (a) Oct 27
Current position: 11th
Goal difference: -6
Remaining games: Sligo Rovers (h) Sep 22; Bray Wanderers (a) Oct 7; St Patrick’s Athletic (h) Oct 13; Limerick (a) Oct 20; Dundalk (h) Oct 27
Current position: 12th
Goal difference: -37
Remaining games: Dundalk (a) Sep 22; Shamrock Rovers (h) Oct 7; Limerick (a) Oct 14; Finn Harps (a) Oct 20; Sligo Rovers (h) Oct 27Tags: