The first Louth Derby of the 2023 League of Ireland season takes place on Thursday night when Dundalk make the short trip south to face Drogheda United at a sold out Weaver’s Park.
Both sides head into the 172nd competitive game between the clubs sitting on eight points after five games, a return which leaves them just four points behind the early pacesetters, Bohemians.
After losing 2-1 to the Gypsies at Dalymount Park in series two, Dundalk have responded in impressive fashion. Last week’s run of three games in seven days saw the Lilywhites collect seven points with home victories over St Patrick’s Athletic and Shelbourne followed by a gritty scoreless draw with Derry City at the Brandywell on Friday night.
That point in the north-west was secured by an excellent defensive performance, led by goalkeeper Nathan Shepperd and Andy Boyle, who made his 300th appearance for the club.
Kevin Doherty’s side won both of the league games played in Drogheda last year while the teams played out a scoreless draw, with the Drogs winning the subsequent penalty shootout, in the Jim Malone Cup at the same venue in pre-season.
Stephen O’Donnell’s side will be backed by a 600-strong away support at a sold-out Weaver’s Park and a win on Boyneside would be the perfect way to start the St Patrick’s Day celebrations in town.
Louie Annesley (illness) and Paul Doyle (knee) are doubtful but Peter Cherrie is available again after missing the 0-0 draw in Derry due to a family bereavement. John Mountney (knee) is a long-term absentee.
Quotes – Stephen O’Donnell
“Drogheda is always a tough place to go, as it proved last year when we got turned over twice. They’ve had a great start to the season and both teams are going into the game in good form so it has all the makings of a really good Louth Derby and we’re looking forward to it.
“We’ve been giving the newer lads a little bit of information in the sense that this game is a little bit different. It’s a derby and one we’re all eagerly anticipating. We’re going to bring really good support and, as I said, it has all the makings of a really good, high-tempo game.
“We drew in Derry last Friday and the only good way to back up a draw is to go and win your next game. If we do that, four points from the last two games is a decent return whereas if we don’t, it’ll be a disappointing return.
“Thursday’s game will be totally different from the one in Derry in terms of the structure of the teams, the style of game, the size of the pitch…all those things into account but that’s what makes the league so good. There are different challenges that you have to try and overcome.”
Quotes – Andy Boyle
“It’s always a tough game in Drogheda but we’re going up there in good form and if we can win, it’ll be a return of 10 points from our last four games which would leave us in a nice position going into the international break.
“The game in Derry was my 300th for the club. To play that amount of times for a club that means so much to me is an honour and hopefully, there are many more to come but the thing I was most pleased with was getting a good result at the Brandywell and we’re looking for another one in Drogheda on Thursday.”
Referee: Paul McLaughlin.
Assistants: Allen Lynch & Brian Fenlon.
Fourth Official: Sean Grant.
The game is a sell-out, but there will be pre-match, in-game and post-match updates across the club’s official social media channels – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
The match will also be broadcast on LMFM and will be streamed live on LOITV for just €7. Supporters can also avail of a 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.