The title race and the playoff hunt - The First Division permutations ahead of the final day

Tue, Oct 27 2020

None Credit: Gerry Shanahan (ETPhotos)

Saturday afternoon saw the First Division promotion hunt take yet another twist, as Drogheda United moved top of the table.

The Boynesiders went first after seeing off Wexford at United Park, coupled with Bray Wanderers’ home defeat versus Galway United.

The Drogs will now need to just equal or better Bray Wanderers result on the final night of the season to secure the First Division title.

Bray on the other hand must better Drogheda United’s result on Tuesday when they visit Athlone Town. 

But that is not all. Here are the permutations in full ahead of the midweek action in the second tier as the playoffs still need to be sorted out along with the ever-entertaining title race.... 

The Title Race

Drogheda will win the First Division title should they equal or better Bray Wanderers’ result away to Athlone Town.

However, they do have to face a playoff chasing Cabinteely, so their task is by no means a formality.

Hope is not all lost for Bray, however. Should they win and Drogheda lose on the final day, they will be champions.

There could also clinch it if they draw and Drogs lose by four or more goals away to Cabo.

The Playoff Hunt

This is where Tuesday gets remarkably interesting, there are four playoff spots up for grabs officially, but with one of them already guaranteed for Bray or Drogheda, there are only three on offer.

The three available positions will see five teams look to sneak in – but there will be two left disappointed at the end of it all.

As it stands, both Cobh Ramblers and Galway United will miss out – so here are the permutations club by club…

UCD

Andy Myler’s Students will need just a point away to Galway United to seal their place in the playoffs.

However, with their +15-goal difference they are virtually safe and should not be caught by Galway United who are three points behind and have a goal difference of +7.

Longford Town

Like UCD, Longford Town need just a draw to seal their place in the First Division playoffs when they visit Wexford at Ferrycarrig Park.

They could rise as high as fourth if they were to better UCD’s result on Tuesday – but they may also fall out of the playoff spots with a defeat.

If Longford were to lose, and should two of Cabinteely, Galway United and Cobh Ramblers win, Town will miss out. 

Cabinteely

It’s pretty simple for Cabinteely, win, and they’re in the First Division playoffs – lose or draw, and they may very well miss out.

The South Dubliners may finish as high as 3rd with a win, but they may also finish as low as 7th with a defeat.

If they were to draw, due to their goal difference, they will be hoping that neither Cobh Ramblers nor Galway United win. If either do, Cabo will miss out.

In effect, they just need to equal or better Galway and Cobh’s results to secure their spot in the playoffs.

However, there is a scenario that that may see Cabo move back to 26 points should Wexford win their arbitration appeal against the FAI.

(If that does happen, this article explaining the permutations may be rendered useless).

Galway United

After their win away to Bray Wanderers on Saturday afternoon, Galway will have renewed vigour and belief in their unlikely playoff charge, but the task remains the same.

They must win versus UCD to harbour any hopes of reaching the playoffs – and hope that one of Longford or Cabinteely lose.

They may however clinch a spot at the expense of UCD with a win by four goals or more over the Students if Longford and Cabo were to win. But a draw or a loss will see them miss out regardless.

Cobh Ramblers

Like Galway, Cobh must defeat Shamrock Rovers II should they have any hopes of reaching the playoffs.

Due to their goal difference of +2, the Rams will need to rely on both Longford and Cabinteely losing for them to reach the playoffs with a win - should Galway win of course.

If Galway were to draw, and Cabo were to lose - a win for Cobh over Shamrock Rovers II will see them sneak in. 

They could also theoretically finish ahead of UCD, but that is only if Stuart Ashton’s side were to see a 13 or more goal swing go their way.

For that to see them reach the playoffs, they will also need one of Cabo or Longford to lose.