Darragh Leahy knows that Dundalk will have to roll up their sleeves and prepare for a battle when they make the trip to Eamonn Deacy Park for Friday night’s Sports Direct Men’s FAI Cup quarter-final tie with Galway United.
The Lilywhites will come face-to-face with a Galway side that is 15 points clear at the top of the Division One table and in need of just four points from their final six league games to secure a return to the top flight for the first tie since 2017.
The Tribesmen are managed by former Cork City boss John Caulfield, who is assisted by ex-Finn Harps manager Ollie Horgan, and Leahy said that Dundalk know exactly what is coming their way when they head west.
“It’s going to be physical, it’s going to be second balls, long balls, all that,” he said. “We’ve watched Galway, we’ve done our homework on them and we know what to expect, so it’s up to us to deal with that and then show our quality as well.
“They have some quality players that we have to be aware of and it’s going to be a sell-out. The place is going to be rocking because they’ve pretty much wrapped up the first division and their full focus is on the cup but hopefully, we can bring a couple of fans ourselves to get behind us.”
Leahy was part of the last Dundalk side that won the FAI Cup in 2020 when David McMillan’s hat-trick helped Filippo Giovagnoli’s side to a 4-2 win over Shamrock Rovers.
The game, which will be remembered by many as the ‘Covid Cup final’ was played in front of no spectators at the Aviva Stadium and Leahy said he would love the opportunity to sample a final in front of a packed Lansdowne Road.
“I know myself from going to finals that it’s one of the best days on the calendar domestically so 2020 was a bit weird,” he said.
“There were no fans, no family or friends at it. Obviously, it was nice to win it, but it was a bit different so I’d love to get back to the Aviva and play in front of a full house.
“We’re two wins away from getting there,” he added. “This is a tough draw but if you’re going to win the FAI Cup, you have to get through nights like this.”