Dundalk get their SSE Airtricity League home campaign up and running by welcoming Ollie Horgan’s Finn Harps to Oriel Park on Friday evening.

The Lilywhites come into this game on the back of a 1-1 draw with Sligo Rovers in The Showgrounds last weekend, while Finn Harps will make the trip on a high having beaten Bohemians 1-0 in Finn Park in their opening game.

Dundalk are unbeaten in their last six meetings with Finn Harps since Ollie Horgan’s side returned to the Premier Division in 2019. The Lilywhites have scored 16 times across the six fixtures, conceding just once and winning four of the meetings between the two sides.

The last meeting between the sides finished in a 0-0 draw at Oriel Park in October last year, which took place just three days after the Europa League play-off victory over KÍ in Dublin.

Last six meetings

22/02/2019 Finn Harps 1-1 Dundalk
19/04/2019 Dundalk 3-0 Finn Harps
08/06/2019 Finn Harps 0-3 Dundalk
16/08/2019 Dundalk 5-0 Finn Harps
06/03/2020 Finn Harps 0-4 Dundalk
04/10/2020 Dundalk 0-0 Finn Harps

Sam Stanton and Ryan O’Kane, pictured during training ahead of the game with Finn Harps at Oriel Park. Photo by Ben McShane/Sportsfile

Dundalk FC team manager Shane Keegan

“Harps had a brilliant win over Bohemians on the opening weekend of the season. On one hand, the result was surprising because you would expect Bohemians to be challenging for the top three but, on the other, it wasn’t that big of a shock because everyone hates playing them in Ballybofey and, from a continuity point of view, they have had the least amount of turnover to their starting 11. 

“From our own point of view, it’s our first home game of the campaign and we definitely need to make Oriel Park a fortress. I know it’d be a lot easier to do that with the place packed but it’s the same situation for everybody. We have to get back to making it a place where teams just dread coming to. 

“That is no easy thing because football worldwide has shown there has been a massive swing, more than I ever thought would exist. I thought things like the familiarity of your surroundings and sticking to your home timetable were all huge factors outside of the fans, but really it is all down to the supporters and how much of a boost they give to the players. 

“Still, if we can get back to a situation where the record at Oriel Park is even close to what it was in 2019 then it would put us in a good position.”

Dundalk FC centre-back Andy Boyle

“You know what you’ll get from Finn Harps. They are a tough side and they have been consistent since Ollie Horgan has been the manager so we have come to expect the same from them and Friday will be no different. 

“They had a good season last year and they started well with that win over Bohemians last Saturday which was a great victory for them but we are at home and if we are to regain the league title we know that our home form will be key to that. 

“We want everyone to have a tough time coming to Oriel and that will be the plan so hopefully, we can get the first win of the season and kick on against Shamrock Rovers the following week.”

Peter Cherrie makes a save in training ahead of the game with Finn Harps at Oriel Park. Photo by Ben McShane/Sportsfile

Team News

Daniel Kelly, Sean Murray, Ole Erik Midtskogen and Val Adedokun are out but Brian Gartland is pushing to be in contention. Raivis Jurkovskis and Sonni Nattestad are on international duty while new signing Han Jeongwoo is hoping to be involved after training with the squad on Thursday.

Where to watch and listen?

The match will be streamed live on #WATCHLOI while radio commentary will also be available on LMFM and Dundalk FM. The kick-off is at 5.45pm.

Match officials

Referee: Derek Tomney
Assistant Referees: Rob Clarke and Christopher Campbell
Fourth Official: Graham Kelly