Dundalk head into one of the biggest Louth Derby games in many a year when they clash with Drogheda United at Oriel Park on Easter Monday afternoon (kick-off 1pm).

Stephen O’Donnell’s side are rooted to the bottom of the SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division table, with their near neighbours three points above them, and would need a three-goal win to move themselves off the foot of the table.

Dundalk, though, would gladly settle for any kind of first victory of the season and will hope that it is lucky number seven after picking up just two points from the 18 available so far.

The Lilywhites’ home form has given them a solid foundation during the head coach’s tenure, losing just four of their 36 league outings between 2022 and 2023. However, they have already lost twice in three games at Oriel Park this season, without scoring.

Dundalk go into this game on the back of Good Friday’s 2-1 defeat by current runaway league leaders Shelbourne at Tolka Park but they had late positives to take out of that loss, as club captain John Mountney made his long-awaited return to action from the bench and assisted Robbie Benson for a late goal – the team’s first since the 33rd minute of the season.

Still, they remain without a victory, the club’s worst start to a campaign since 1972, and many will feel that Easter Monday is a must-win match to finally kick-start 2024, at the start of what is a busy April as they play six times.

The first of those tests is against ninth-placed Drogheda, who have accumulated five points from their first six games, the latest of which was a scoreless draw with Saint Patrick’s Athletic at Weavers Park on Good Friday.

2Derry City104421610616
4Shamrock Rovers9432149515
5St Patrick’s Athletic10424109114
6Sligo Rovers93331110112
7Waterford FC103341111012
8Galway United932456-111
9Drogheda United9153914-58
10Dundalk FC10046316-134

The Boynesiders’ sole win came at home to Bohemians at the beginning of March, and four days later came their only point on the road to date at Galway United, that draw coming in between losing their other two away trips to Derry City and Sligo Rovers.

Kevin Doherty’s men are still in touch with a number of teams above them and could jump significantly with a win, as they hope to repeat their PTSB Leinster Senior Cup/Malone Cup come-from-behind 2-1 victory at Oriel Park in early February during pre-season.

However, Dundalk have dominated this fixture in the Premier Division in recent times and are currently on a five-game winning streak, taking all 12 points from Drogheda in 2023.

That included 3-1 and 3-2 wins on the Carrick Road in April and September – the latter thanks to goals from Paul Doyle, Daniel Kelly and Patrick Hoban after Drogheda had taken the lead – along with 1-0 and 2-1 away victories in March and June.

Drogheda’s last success at Oriel Park was back in August 2021 when Mark Doyle’s brace saw them over the line 2-1 after Michael Duffy’s reply.

Supporters are again reminded of the earlier kick-off time of 1pm.

Team News
Andy Boyle, Jamie Walker and Dara Keane all miss out and Cameron Elliott is doubtful after picking up an ankle injury in the defeat against Shelbourne on Friday night.

Match Officials
Referee: Paul McLaughlin
Assistants: Darren Carey and Darren Corcoran
Fourth Official: David Dunne