After a couple of tough trips on the road, Stephen O’Donnell is hoping for some home comforts when Dundalk take on Cork City at Oriel Park on Monday night.
The Lilywhites go into the game on the back of four straight defeats with the last two, the FAI Cup quarter-final defeat in Galway, and Friday’s 2-1 defeat against St Patrick’s Athletic in Inchicore, threatening to leave a dark cloud over the remainder of the season.
The result at Richmond Park leaves Dundalk in sixth position, 10 points behind third-placed Pat’s, who hold the final guaranteed European spot.
“We’re looking forward to getting back to Oriel Park,” said Stephen O’Donnell. “Our home record has been good over the past 18 months and we need to go again.
“We know it’ll be a tough game against Cork. We’re going through a sticky patch at the minute, results-wise, and we know there’s criticism that comes with it.
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O’Donnell said that Friday’s defeat at Richmond Park was a snapshot of Dundalk’s campaign; large promising spells of play undone by poor defending.
“It’s the story of the season,” he said. “We played very well in the first half, dominated the game and should have gone in ahead and out of nowhere, two direct balls from the right centre-back position and we’re two down. Teams aren’t outplaying us. It’s very frustrating. Very, very frustrating.
“We got back into it through Daniel Kelly and I thought we would go on and get the equaliser but we went down to 10 men when we had that foothold back in it and the penalty at the end gave the scoreline a bit of a false scoreline.”
This is the fourth and final meeting of the clubs this season. Dundalk won the corresponding game in May in dramatic fashion when stoppage-time goals from Cameron Elliott and Patrick Hoban saw O’Donnell’s men come from behind to beat the nine-man Leesiders, who slipped to a 2-1 defeat against Shelbourne at Tolka Park on Friday.
Team News: Robbie Benson is suspended while Darren Brownlie will be assessed after missing Friday night’s game with St Patrick’s Athletic with a bout of flu. After nearly three months on the sidelines, Keith Ward made his return to action for our MU19 team on Sunday.