With nine games remaining at most for the League of Ireland, the focus turns to those sitting in and around the relegation zone with the league switching to a ten-team format for 2018. Three teams will be relegated at the end of this season and, as of the end of the 24th week of play, Galway United, Sligo Rovers, and Drogheda United are all set to drop. Slow pursuit of the top scorer One of the biggest challenges in these remaining eight or nine games will be to try and bump Sean Maguire off of the top of the league’s scoring chart. On 24th July, Maguire transferred from Cork City to Preston North End, and yet the 23-year-old’s 20 goals in 21 games still stand him as the top goal scorer. Maguire may not be as much of a superstar as those who competed in the UEFA Super Cup, but he’s set a tally that’ll be very hard to beat. The next closest to Maguire’s immense tally is Gary McCabe of Bray Wanderers, with 14. Bumper week of football in Ireland This week is a big one for the League of Ireland, kicking off on Tuesday 15th August with Limerick hosting Shamrock Rovers. Limerick are trying to put some distance between them and the drop, whereas Shamrock are in with a sniff of getting into a Europa League place. Sligo Rovers will be trying to get out of the relegation zone with a win against fifth-placed Bray Wanderers, who are in awful form, on the same day. On Friday 18th August, St. Patrick’s Athletic and Finn Harps will battle it out to claw away from the drop zone, while Shamrock Rovers travel to Galway United, who have strung some good results together in recent games. League dominators Cork City, now 1/2000 to win the league, will be looking for an easy home win against Sligo Rovers, and Bray Wanderers will be hoping to turn their form around against bottom-dwellers Drogheda United. Roll into the weekend, and Saturday 19th August sees Limerick host Bohemians followed by Derry City versus Dundalk on Sunday 20th August. The Sunday fixture is a battle of second versus third and both teams are in solid form, so it should produce a good match-up. The bumper week of football in Ireland concludes with a Monday night match-up (21st August) which pits the soon-to-be champions Cork City against Finn Harps, who are right in the middle of the relegation battle. As the League of Ireland begins to wind down, the relegation scrap rages on.