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Cork City have been tasked with a long journey to Donegal for their opening game, while Dundalk get their title defence under way at home

Dundalk will kick off the defence of their Premier Division title against Shamrock Rovers, the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) has confirmed.

Stephen Kenny's three-in-a-row champions will host the Hoops at Oriel Park on Friday, February 24 as the 2017 League of Ireland gets under way.

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There are five Premier Division fixtures on the opening Friday, with FAI Cup winners Cork City handed a long-haul trip to Donegal to face Finn Harps in their first game.

Bohemians will host Derry City at Dalymount Park, while Drogheda United mark their return to the top flight with an away game against Galway United. Elsewhere, St Patrick's Athletic play host to Bray Wanderers. 

The 2016 First Division champions, Limerick, welcome Sligo Rovers to Markets Field on Saturday, February 25 as they look to get off to a positive start on their return to the Premier Division.

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The First Division also kicks off on February 24, with recently relegated Longford Town facing Owen Heary's Shelbourne at Tolka Park.

Wexford Youths, who were also relegated from the Premier Division in 2016, commence their campaign away to Cobh Ramblers on Saturday February 25.

Waterford begin the season away to Athlone Town, while Cabinteely have been handed a home opener against UCD.

PREMIER DIVISION OPENING WEEKEND

Friday February 24

Bohemians v Derry City Dalymount Park 19.45 

Dundalk v Shamrock Rovers Oriel Park 19.45 

Galway United v Drogheda United Eamonn Deacy Park 19.45 

St Patrick’s Athletic v Bray Wanderers Richmond Park 19.45 

Finn Harps v Cork City Finn Park 20.00 

Saturday February 25

Limerick v Sligo Rovers Markets Field 18.30

See the fixtures for the Premier Division and First Division in full.

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