A place in the semi-finals of the Extra.ie FAI Cup is up for grabs when holders Dundalk take on Finn Harps in Ballybofey on Friday evening.
This is the 10th time the clubs will have met in the competition. Dundalk have won six of the previous encounters with three draws. One of those games that finished level was the very first cup tie between the teams back in 1970 which was abandoned because of bad weather in Donegal.
The Lilywhites have gone on to lift the trophy on four of the last five occasions that the sides have met in the competition – 1979, 1981, 2002 and 2018 – and also boast a good record at Finn Park.
Their last defeat at the ground came in November 2007 when Harps beat John Gill’s side 2-0 in a Division One promotion play-off. Dundalk have won five of the subsequent seven fixtures at the northwest venue, scoring 19 goals and conceding just two.
The sides have already met in the league on three occasions this season. In March, Adam Foley’s double, either side of Patrick Hoban’s strike, won Ollie Horgan’s all three points at Oriel Park.
In May, Ole Erik Midtskogen’s header cancelled out Barry McNamee’s opener in a 1-1 draw at Finn Park while David McMillan’s strike settled the third league fixture at Oriel Park in July.
A win at Finn Park would leave Dundalk just one victory away from a record-breaking seventh successive FAI Cup final appearance at the Aviva Stadium and head coach Vinny Perth has called on the club’s supporters to get behind his players in Ballybofey.
“Friday night’s game is about Dundalk Football Club,” he said. “People might be disappointed with me, they might be disappointed with the players, and they might be disappointed with the owners but I have been here for almost 10 years and I know Dundalk people and when we stick together, we are quite a force and we need to do that.
“We are looking forward to the game. There’s nothing we can do about outside noise, we have just been focusing on ourselves and we are confident we can take another step towards another cup final.”
Daniel Cleary and Han Jeongwoo return from suspension but Dundalk make the trip with a number of players still missing through injury but Perth said there was a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.
“Patrick McEleney and David McMillan have started running and Daniel Kelly received some positive news from a specialist so he is maybe three or four weeks away. It’s good news but it won’t kick in for another week or so. We just need to get through this game.”
Friday night’s game gets underway at 8pm. If the match finishes level after 90 minutes, it will go to a replay at Oriel Park on Tuesday, September 21st at 7.45pm.
Competition: Extra.ie FAI Cup quarter-final
Date: Friday, September 17th, 2021
Venue: Finn Park
Watch it: Live on LOITV.ie
Ticket and Travel News
Dundalk have received an allocation of 300 tickets for the game which can be purchased at this link. There will be no match tickets available from the Oriel Park office. The club will be running buses to Ballybofey, priced at €20 return. Bus tickets are now available from the Oriel Park office.
Daniel Cleary and Han Jeongwoo are available after suspension but Patrick McEleney, Wilfried Zahibo, David McMillan, Brian Gartland, Darragh Leahy, Cameron Yates are all out with injuries.
Andy Boyle Quotes
“It has been a tough week. Our aim at the start of the week was to win all three games. Obviously, we haven’t done that but we can finish the week well and a place in the semi-finals is a big carrot and something the players are all focused on.
“I know it’s been difficult and the season hasn’t panned out the way we wanted it to but we have a chance to finish it well and say thanks to the fans. They travel around the country supporting us and we just want to give
Referee: Damien MacGraith
Assistant 1: Rob Clarke
Assistant 2: Emmet Dynan
Fourth Official: Paul McLaughlin