Dundalk welcome Sligo; Cork City face St Pat's as 2019 fixtures announced

By Steve Neville

League of Ireland champions Dundalk will begin their title defence against Sligo Rovers at home on Friday, February 15.

The fixture list for the upcoming Airtricity League has been announced this afternoon.

Last year's league runners-up Cork City face a difficult trip to Richmond Park to play St Patrick's Athletic in their opening fixture.

Newly promoted Finn Harps face an away tie on their return to the Premier Division, playing Bohemians in Dalymount Park.

Derry will play UCD at the renamed Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium while Waterford will welcome Shamrock Rovers to the RSC.

The first meeting of last season's top two - and the FAI Cup finalist - will take place on March 29.

Cork City will travel to Oriel Park, while Dundalk will head to Turner's Cross on May 17.

The two sides will meet again in Dundalk on July 19 and in Cork on October 18, the second last week of the season.

Dundalk are without a manager having lost Stephen Kenny to the Ireland U21 job last month. Kenny ended his tenure with the Lilywhites having won the league and cup double.

Under Kenny, Dundalk won four of the last five league titles.

There are all-Dublin clashes in the second and third week of the season to whet the appetite.

February 22 sees UCD welcome Bohemians before a huge clash between Bohs and Shamrock Rovers at Dalymount on February 25.

FAI Competitions Director Fran Gavin stated that they listened to clubs' feedback on the fixture list.

He said: "We've made a few changes to the fixture list based on feedback from the clubs and other stakeholders. We've switched one midweek round of fixtures from before the mid-season break to after.

"Also, all Premier Division clubs will now come into the EA SPORTS Cup at the second round stage and there has also been an adjustment to the play-off dates."

He added that it was "great to get the fixtures released as the excitement for the start of the 2019 season on Friday, February 15 continues to build."

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