Cliftonville v Dundalk – Match Press Kit
dundalkfc.com has put together an extensive 14-page Match Press Kit previewing the first leg of Dundalk’s Setanta Sports Cup semi-final tie against Cliftonville, which takes place at Solitude, Belfast on Monday evening (kick-off 7.45pm). The kit includes a statistical review of the clubs’ respective seasons to date, with all the necessary facts and figures, as they go head-to-head in competition for the first time in nearly 68 years.
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Cliftonville v Dundalk Match Press Kit
Looking ahead to the game, manager Ian Foster told dundalkfc.com: “It’s the draw that we wanted because we wanted to continue playing teams from the north; we’re playing against teams that we don’t normally play against, it’s new for the players, it’s new for me, it’s new for a certain amount of our fans, and that’s what we were after. The last thing we wanted was to be playing the likes of Shamrock Rovers or Sligo Rovers at least six times in one calendar year. That’s something that we have avoided, so we’re pleased on that front.”
Having already beaten Linfield and Glentoran, Dundalk will enter the game in confident mood. But Foster pointed out: “Cliftonville have come through some tough ties themselves. To beat Saint Patrick’s Athletic 3-0 at home was a fantastic result. I was actually at the game when they lost 2-0 in Inchicore. Cliftonville have done incredibly well to get through. They’re a good side, they’re well organised, and it’s the semi-final of a cup competition, so whenever you get to this stage you’re always playing against decent opposition. Although it’s the tie we wanted, for the reasons I’ve stated, it will be a tough game.”
Dundalk have already beaten Cliftonville this year, when a double from Jason Byrne and goals from Dean Bennett and Ross Gaynor gave them a 4-1 win in a pre-season friendly in Belfast back in February. However, Foster is reading nothing into that. “In fairness to Cliftonville, they put out a reserve side against us,” he said. “I don’t think that will have any bearing on the semi-final. The benefit of going up there is that we’ve had a taste of the pitch – although it is an artificial surface, it is a little bit different to our own. That will give us a head start in the sense that we know what their surface is like and the majority of our players will have played on it.”
Dundalk have won the opening legs of both rounds to date, both in Belfast. And asked he felt playing away first is an advantage, Foster said: “Only time will tell. I suppose it is if you score. We have been away first in the first two rounds and it has worked for us – we hit five in Linfield and we took a 1-0 lead from Glentoran. Our job will be much easier in Oriel Park if we can go to Cliftonville and score, and that will be our intention. It’s going to be two difficult games to get past Cliftonville. We came back very early in pre-season for this competition, and we’d hate to go out at this stage. We’ll give it everything we’ve got and do our utmost to get to the Setanta Sports Cup final.” Following Sunday morning’s training session, Foster reported that they are still monitoring central midfielder Bennett, who has been absent with a hamstring strain since 11 March.