A busy weekend of Easter fixtures gets underway on Good Friday when third-placed Dundalk welcome fourth-placed Sligo Rovers to Oriel Park.
Both sides go into the game looking to get back on track after a disappointing weekend last time out. Ten-man Dundalk were beaten by Shamrock Rovers at Oriel Park while the Bit o’Red lost to a late goal against early pacesetters Bohemians at The Showgrounds.
Robbie Benson’s first-half dismissal left Dundalk with it all to do against the reigning champions and the Lilywhites will have to do without the midfielder’s services for Friday’s game – and the trip to Cork City on Easter Monday – after the FAI dismissed the club’s appeal for wrongful dismissal.
After losing against Rovers in Tallaght last April, Dundalk responded by winning nine and drawing two of their next 11 league games and Stephen O’Donnell will be hoping for a similar response this time around.
The last meeting between the sides produced a six-goal thriller at Oriel Park last October with Keith Ward securing Dundalk a late share of the spoils in a 3-3 draw.
Max Mata was on target for John Russell’s side that night and the New Zealand international has started this campaign in fine fashion. With five goals, Mata is the Premier Division’s joint top scorer alongside Cork City’s Ruairi Keating.
Robbie Benson begins a two-match suspension following his red card against Shamrock Rovers. Patrick Hoban and Cameron Elliott are hoping to be involved after missing the Rovers game with muscle injuries while Paul Doyle is making good progress from a knee injury that has kept him sidelined since February. Louie Annesley and John Mountney are ruled out.
Quotes – Stephen O’Donnell
“Sligo Rovers are a bit like ourselves in that they have a few players that are probably a little bit unfamiliar with the League of Ireland but they have also brought in a few from within the league itself.
“They’re a good team with attacking threats and they were unlucky to lose against Bohemians last Saturday in a game that was very much fifty-fifty and that could have gone either way. The last time we played them here, it was a 3-3 thriller towards the back end of last season so they’ll carry a threat – but so will we.
“If you go through our team, last week’s game was our seventh league fixture and there are a lot of players in our squad who are new to the league and still getting used to it. The more games we play, the more familiar we will get with it and the more comfortable the lads will be in their surroundings.
“As I keep saying, I’m happy with the quality we have and the application is good so it’s about getting into a little bit of a rhythm, obviously keeping 11 players on the pitch and getting personnel back from injury so we have a fuller squad to choose from.
“When that happens, we’ll have a better connection between everyone in training and we’ll be able to get players up to match fitness and into a pattern of playing 90 minutes.”
League of Ireland Table
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Quotes – Connor Malley
“Last week’s result was disappointing but highs and lows are a part of the game and I’ve had them both throughout my career. We just need to focus on putting it right and the only thing we can do is affect the next game, starting with Sligo on Friday night.
“Some of the goals we gave away against Shamrock Rovers were unacceptable so that’s something we’re going to have to put right. We kept two clean sheets in the games before that which shows we are capable of doing it so it’s about getting back to basics and hopefully, people like myself and the other attacking players who are on the pitch can make a difference at the other end.
“It’s all about a reaction now and I think that will happen. The mood has been good this week. I know, and see, how we train every day and what we’ve got talent-wise and ability wise so I’d always back this group of players to go out and put on performances and win games.”
Referee: Damien MacGraith
Assistants: Robert Clarke & Brian Fenlon
Fourth Official: Mark Moynihan
Tickets are available at this link.
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.
We would encourage parents or guardians of children under the age of 12 to purchase them as early as possible in the lead-up to the game to avoid having to pay a higher ticket price on match night.
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 The Unit who have kindly sponsored the game.
Established in 2016 by Paddy Casey and Conor Durnin, The Unit is a local business that aims to build a strategic marketing roadmap for companies in various sectors.
Based in the heart of town, The Unit has the expertise and experience to deliver world-class marketing support to businesses in Dundalk and further afield.
Earlier this year, Dundalk FC announced a new partnership with The Unit which will see the local development and marketing company become the club’s official warm-up kit sponsor.
For more information on The Unit, visit their website.
Refreshments, Food & Drink
The Lilywhite Lounge and Enda McGuill Suite will be open from 6pm on Friday. Cash only in both bars. Hot food will be available from our Match Night 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.
Daniel Kelly is the cover star of the 24-page match programme which 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 also be broadcast on radio with Adrian Taaffe and John Flanagan providing commentary on LMFM while John Murphy and Gerry Cunningham will also be on your wireless on Dundalk FM.
Alternatively, you can tune into the same commentary team on LOITV which is streaming the match live for just €7. 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.