The 23rd edition of the Jim Malone Cup takes place this Saturday when Dundalk FC take on Drogheda United at United Park.
Introduced in 1997 to commemorate the man who held the position of president, chairman and vice-chairman during his long association with the Lilywhites, the fixture has become an annual pre-season event.
Incredibly, the Drogs won 13 of the first 15 meetings between the sides, with 10 years separating Dundalk’s first win in March 2000 and their second in February 2010. The tables have turned in recent years, though, with the trophy having resided in the Oriel Park Dundalk’s trophy cabinet since 2015.
The 2021 season will be the first time since 2017 that both sides have been in the Premier Division, following Drogheda’s promotion last season. In the build-up to Saturday’s fixture, we take a quick look back at some notable meetings over the past decade.
2010: Dundalk FC 2-1 Drogheda United
Oriel Park – February 18th, 2010
After 10 years of Drogheda domination, the Jim Malone Cup made its way back to Dundalk for the first time since 2000 as Ian Foster’s new-look side recorded a 2-1 win.
A disjointed game was settled by trialist John Flood who endeared himself to the Lilywhites faithful by grabbing both goals, either side of a Paul Crowley header. Despite that brace, the former Bray striker wasn’t offered a contract and he started the 2010 season with the Drogs!
DUNDALK FC: Peter Cherrie (Matt Gregg HT); Shaun Kelly, Garry Breen (Jason Mok 65), Liam Burns, Wayne Hatswell; Stephen Maher, Alan Cawley (Michael Synnott 65), Tom Miller (Robert Bayly HT), Ross Gaynor; John Flood (Johnny Breen 85), Neale Fenn. Subs not used: Ciaran McGuigan, Billy Smith.
There was no fixture the following year, as Drogheda found themselves in dire financial straits after finishing bottom of the Premier Division in 2010. They were spared relegation following Sporting Fingal’s extinction, but the Malone Cup game was put on ice for 12 months due to the Drogs not having enough time to assemble a competitive team.
2012: Drogheda United 1-0 Dundalk FC
United Park – February 16th, 2012
After scoring the equaliser in 2010, former Lilywhites midfielder Paul Crowley found himself centerstage two years later, glancing home the winner with 77 minutes played.
Chris Shields and John Mountney both started while Brazilian Hernany Macedo made a rare appearance for Sean McCaffrey’s side while the Drogs squad included some familiar names such as Gabriel Sava, Shane Grimes, Tiarnan Mulvenna and Johnny Breen.
DUNDALK FC: Peter Cherrie (Ger Hanley HT), Derek Foran, Liam Burns, Hernany Macedo, Nathan Murphy (Luke Danville HT), Paul Walsh (Gareth Coughlan HT), Stephen McDonnell (Robbie Watters HT), Chris Shields (Mark Leavy 88), John Mountney (George Smith 62), Shane O’Neill (Chris Reilly 62), Michael Rafter (Bob McKenna HT).
2013: Dundalk FC 0-0 Drogheda United
Drogheda won 5-4 on penalties
Oriel Park – March 1st, 2013
The first Malone Cup of the Stephen Kenny-era ended in defeat for Dundalk as the Drogs, who finished the 2012 league campaign as runners-up to Sligo Rovers, won a penalty shootout in sudden death when Gabriel Sava turned Mark Rossiter’s effort away.
New boy Richie Towell came off the bench in the 16th minute while there were also starts for Rob Maloney and Eoghan Osborne as Kenny went about shaping a squad that would go on to dominate the league.
DUNDALK FC: Peter Cherrie; John Sullivan (Richie Towell 16), Mark Rossiter, Rob Maloney (Andy Boyle 60), Eoghan Osborne (Dane Massey 60); John Dillon, John Mountney, Stephen McDonnell, Darren Meenan (Kurtis Byrne 69); Patrick Hoban (Keith Ward HT), Vinny Faherty (Sam Osobe 80).
2014: Drogheda United 1-1 Dundalk FC
Drogheda won 5-4 on penalties
United Park – February 8th, 2014
Just three weeks before they met in the opening league fixture of the 2014 season – that infamous 4-1 defeat! – the Malone Cup was settled by a penalty shootout for the eighth time. Gavin Brennan gave the hosts the lead before Patrick Hoban popped up with an injury-time header to send the game to penalties. In the shootout, new recruit Daryl Horgan was denied by Michael Schlingermann as the Drogs won the trophy for the 13th time in 15 games.
This was the eighth time Dundalk had lost the Malone Cup on penalties, and the second successive year the Lilywhites had lost in this fashion. However, this would turn out to be the last time in recent years that Dundalk would lose the fixture.
DUNDALK FC: Peter Cherrie, Sean Gannon (Simon Kelly 73), Mark Rossiter, Brian Gartland, Dane Massey; Chris Shields (Ruaidhri Higgins 61), Stephen O’Donnell; John Mountney (Richie Towell 61), Kurtis Byrne (Patrick Hoban 61), Darren Meenan; David McMillan (Marc Griffin 73).
2015: Dundalk FC 2-0 Drogheda United
Oriel Park – February 20th, 2015
New signings Jake Kelly and Ronan Finn both featured at Oriel Park as Dundalk, who went on to win the league and FAI Cup double, won the Malone Cup for the first time in five years.
Andy Boyle headed home a Darren Meenan corner to make the breakthrough before Daryl Horgan came off the bench and set up the second for another substitute, Ciaran O’Connor. The Lilywhites would retain the trophy the following year for the first time in their history.
DUNDALK FC: Gary Rogers; Darren Meenan, Brian Gartland, Andy Boyle (Ciaran O’Connor 62), Shane Grimes; Chris Shields, Richie Towell, Ronan Finn; Jake Kelly (Daryl Horgan HT), David McMillan (Michael O’Connor 87), Kurtis Byrne (Georgie Poynton 84). Subs not used: Michael O’Connor, Paul Finnegan, Georgie Poynton, Gabriel Sava (GK).
2016: Drogheda United 0-2 Dundalk FC
United Park – February 19th, 2016
Dundalk retained the Jim Malone Cup for the first time in their history with a 2-0 win over neighbours Drogheda United. Ciaran Kilduff, who went on to score a couple of pretty important goals in Europe that season, was the hero as he struck a goal in either half to secure the win at United Park.
DUNDALK FC: Gabriel Sava; Paddy Barrett, Brian Gartland, Andy Boyle (Georgie Poynton 75), Shane Grimes; Robbie Benson, Stephen O’Donnell; Darren Meenan, Ronan Finn, John Mountney; Ciaran Kilduff (Carlton Ubaezuono 88). Subs not used: Gary Rogers (GK)
With a pre-season trip to Spain, where they faced Espanyol’s B team, on the itinerary, Dundalk put the Malone Cup on ice for a year in 2017. Lilywhites boss Stephen Kenny offered to play the game early in the season but he was met by an angry response from Drogheda manager Pete Mahon who accused the Lilywhites ‘of a lack of respect’. Unimpressed, Kenny simply labelled Mahon’s claims as ‘totally untrue’.
2018: Dundalk FC 3-1 Drogheda United
Oriel Park – January 27th, 2018
Both sides have always had contrasting fortunes when this fixture rolls around, and that was particularly evident in 2018, as Drogheda began life in the first division for the second time in three years. Meanwhile, Dundalk had their sights set on regaining the Premier Division title which was lost to Cork City the previous year.
A host of new faces featured as Dundalk ran out 3-1 winners at Oriel Park. Lee Duffy gave Drogheda the lead in the first half but Stephen Folan – a winter recruit from Galway United – equalised and late efforts from Michael Duffy and Dylan Connolly sealed the victory and a third consecutive Malone Cup win.
This would prove to be the last Louth Derby under the management of Stephen Kenny, as he departed to take over as Ireland U21 head coach at the end of the season.
DUNDALK FC: Gabriel Sava (Ross Treacy 89); Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland, Stephen Folan, Dean Jarvis (Gavin Smith 84); Robbie Benson (Jack O’Keeffe 76), Chris Shields (Georgie Poynton 62), John Mountney (Michael Duffy 20); Dylan Connolly, Jeff McGowan (Cian Flynn 88) Ronan Murray (Adam Finnegan 86).
2020: Dundalk FC 2-0 Drogheda United
Oriel Park – January 30th, 2020
This meeting between the sides is notable as it was one of the last home fixtures that fans had the opportunity to attend before the outbreak of Covid-19 in Ireland.
Dundalk emerged 2-0 winners at Oriel Park through second-half goals from Jordan Flores and Georgie Kelly. The home side were on top for large periods of the first half, but the deadlock wasn’t broken until three minutes into the second as Daniel Kelly’s cross found Flores who headed home.
The game was then put to bed 10 minutes from the end as Kelly made another clever run down the right before cutting the ball back for Kelly to tap the ball into what was virtually an empty net to keep the Jim Malone Cup at Oriel Park for a sixth straight year.
DUNDALK FC: Aaron McCarey (Gabriel Sava HT); Brian Gartland (Sean Hoare HT), Daniel Cleary (Taner Dogan 83), Dane Massey; Sean Gannon, Chris Shields (Andrew Quinn 83), Sean Murray (Jordan Flores HT), Greg Sloggett (Lido Lotefa 74), Darragh Leahy (Daniel Kelly HT); Michael Duffy (Mark Hanratty 82); Patrick Hoban (Georgie Kelly HT).