Dundalk head into the 173rd competitive Louth Derby at Oriel Park on Friday night looking to pick up their first win since the 172nd edition took place six weeks ago.
Connor Malley’s strike settled that affair at Weaver’s Park on March 16th but there has been very little for Dundalk supporters to cheer since then.
A run of four consecutive defeats in all competitions followed but an energetic second-half display in the 2-2 draw at home to Derry City, coupled with a 1-1 draw away to 10-man Shelbourne last week, in a game that Dundalk controlled for large periods, steadied the ship.
Dundalk and Drogheda United head into the game sitting level on points in the SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division table and the visitors have only been beaten once on the road this season, that loss coming against current league leaders Bohemians.
Despite a lengthy injury list that currently shows no sign of abating, the Lilywhites remain just six points off second place and with Friday night’s derby followed by a trip to bottom-of-the-table UCD on Bank Holiday Monday, a positive return could kickstart the campaign as we head for the bright nights of the summer.
Wasiri Williams serves the last of a two-game suspension. Andy Boyle, Greg Sloggett, Cameron Elliott, Daniel Kelly, Louie Annesley and John Mountney are all ruled out but Robbie McCourt is hoping to be involved after missing the 1-1 draw with Shelbourne last week.
Quotes – Stephen O’Donnell
“I was happy with a lot of what we did at Tolka Park last week. Missing the penalty gave the crowd energy and when Shelbourne scored, they had something to hang onto but when we went 1-0 down, we kept persevering, we kept playing the right way and we dominated the game. I think we had 80% possession, 44 crosses, and something like 20 attempts on goal so I was happy with how we played and the least we deserved was a point.
“A lot of our players wouldn’t have played regular first-team football and had to back performances up and get results, week in, week out with limited numbers, and this period will be beneficial for the team, the group and me as a coach going forward.
“Drogheda have done very well this season. In the main, they’ve been able to pick the same team and their main players, the likes of Ryan Brennan, Darragh Markey, Gary Meegan and Dayle Rooney were ever-present last year as well. You get good continuity with that and they’ve made another good start.
“They’ve only lost one game on the road this season and they went up to the Brandywell recently and even though they had a man sent off, they won the game so they’re going to be tough enough to crack. They carry an attacking threat but we have good players too, we have trained well and we’re looking forward to it.”
Quotes – Archie Davies
“We’re going through a tough time with injuries but we have shown a lot of spirit in the last two games. Since the moment I’ve been here, the gaffer has always said that everyone will be needed and it’s got to that point where people are playing in positions that are a bit alien to them but everyone’s stepping up and doing a job.
“We just have to dust ourselves down and go again because we know the points are coming. Everyone believes that we’re playing well. During the second half against Derry City and the 90 minutes against Shelbourne last Friday night, I think we were much better than in recent weeks so we’re confident it’s coming.
“Ninety-nine times out of 100, we win games like last Friday and injuries, positions and tactics and things like that go out the window. It’s just about us being better than the opposition, which I felt we were against Shelbourne Friday night, and we will need to be against Drogheda United.”
Ground and juvenile tickets are now on general sale. Stand tickets are available from the office at Oriel Park.
A limited number of juvenile (U12) tickets will be available for the game. After this point, tickets will only be available in the higher-priced categories.
To gain entry to Oriel Park, all juveniles must have a ticket and be accompanied by at least one adult. Dundalk FC reserves the right to refuse admission to any unaccompanied juveniles. Any adult entering the stadium using a juvenile ticket will be ejected from the ground without a refund.
We would like to say a special word of thanks to our match sponsors, Value Centre Cash & Carry. Located in the shadow of the Oriel Park floodlights on Ecco Road, Value Centre Cash & Carry is proud to be associated with Dundalk FC and to sponsor tonight’s Louth Derby against our neighbours, Drogheda United. Value Centre Dundalk is one of 21 branches nationwide and along with its sister branch in Unit 13, Newgrange Business Park, Drogheda, Value Centre has been your local wholesaler for more than 50 years.
Refreshments, Food & Drink
The Lilywhite Lounge and Enda McGuill Suite will be open from 5.30pm on Friday. Cash only in both bars. Hot food will be available from our Match Day Food Partners, Mullens. Coffee, tea and hot beverages will also be available from our Coffee Partners, The Brew Crew, in the ground and from the Enda McGuill Suite.
The front cover of the 24-page match programme features Nathan Shepperd. It will be available before the game for just €4.
How Can I Follow The Game?
There will be pre-match, in-game and post-match updates across all of the club’s official social media channels – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. The match will be streamed live on LOITV for just €7 with Adrian Taaffe and former Dundalk FC captain John Flanagan providing the commentary. Supporters can also avail of an LOITV Season Pass which costs just €120 and gives access to all matches across the SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division, Men’s First Division and Women’s Premier Division.
There will be a bucket collection ahead of Friday’s game to try and raise much-needed funds for ex-Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers player James ‘Jacko’ McDonagh. The 62-year-old played for Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers in the 1970s and 1980s and was named PFAI Young Player of the Year in 1982. Almost a year ago to the day, Jacko made the trip home to Dublin from France to celebrate his 60th birthday but he suffered a stroke which left him paralysed on his left side. A GoFundMe was launched by his children Edward and Jean-Baptiste in February to cover the costs of the ‘extensive care’ needed to support Jacko’s needs.