Shamrock Rovers welcome Drogheda United to Tallaght Stadium for the final game of the season (kick-off 7.45pm) with the unlikely carrot of a possible second-hand finish, should they win and cross-town rivals Bohemians do them a favour at home to Cork City.
A second-place finish would change what has been a satisfactory season for the Hoops – albeit they didn't mount a consistent challenge in the league or cup – into something approximating progress, but they'll face a motivated Drogheda side who know it may be their only chance to avoid the automatic drop.
The season already represents the best finish for Rovers in the league since they last won the title in 2011. It was the first season in Tallaght in 2009 since the Hoops last finished second in the league. The Hoops have given themselves a shot at that second placed spot with a 2-0 away win last Friday in Limerick.
Manager Pat Fenlon has no injuries or suspensions to deal with, barring long-term injury victim Sean O'Connor.
An unusual week's preparation for what is almost certainly going to be a must-win game, saw Drogheda United replace manager Mark Kinsella – who fell foul of a UEFA rule restricting unlicensed coaches to only 60 days in charge – with Pete Mahon.
While Mahon will nominally take charge of the Boynesiders – who know a win of any sort for Limerick in Sligo will see them need to also gain three points, with any other outcome seeing them into a play-off – but Kinsella has prepared the squad for the past two months and will have prepared them again for this game.
“It’s still down to what kind of result we can produce on Friday,” Kinsella told the club website.
“It won’t be an easy game for Limerick having to go to the Showgrounds to face Sligo Rovers after their win last week against St Pat’s. We will be set up looking to win in Tallaght as anything else leaves us relying on others.”
“Rovers are a quality side with strength throughout the team, particularly out wide,” Kinsella noted. "They are the only side in the league to beat Cork away from Turner’s Cross and they have their own business to take care of so I’m not expecting any favours.
“The games between ourselves and the top sides this season have been very close, Dundalk aside, and if we can deal with the pressure and cut out the silly mistakes then anything is possible. We need to be positive."
Drogheda will be without Joe Gorman after he was sent off within eight minutes against Longford Town last week, but Robert O'Reilly and Lee Duffy return from suspension
Referee: Dave McKeon.
Shamrock Rovers and Drogheda United have met twice this season, with the Hoops winning comfortably 3-0 in Tallaght before edging the second meeting 1-0 at United Park.
Second place for Shamrock Rovers would see the club earn €45,000 in prize money from the FAI, with third spot rewarded with €20,000.
Micheál Schlingermann has played every minute of every league game for Drogheda United this season. Simon Madden has missed just eight minutes of league action for the Hoops in 2015.
Shamrock Rovers 2/5; Draw 15/4; Drogheda United 6/1.
Shamrock Rovers 4 – 0 Drogheda United.
Injured: Sean O'Connor (ankle).