The 2024 SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division season gets underway on Friday night when Stephen O’Donnell’s new-look Lilywhites visit Tallaght Stadium to face the reigning champions Shamrock Rovers.

The game, which will be broadcast live on RTE2, gets underway at 7.45pm.

It has been a hectic off-season at Oriel Park. Brian Ainscough was installed as the club’s new owner in December and O’Donnell has been busy reshaping his squad following the departures of established players like Patrick Hoban, Daniel Kelly, Greg Sloggett, Nathan Shepperd and Darragh Leahy.

O’Donnell concluded his transfer business this week with the arrivals of goalkeeper George Shelvey (Nottingham Forest) and Zak Johnson (Sunderland) bringing the total number of new faces at Oriel Park to 11.

In contrast, Rovers, who are looking to make history by winning five consecutive SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division titles on the spin, have added incrementally, bringing the likes of Aaron McEneff and Darragh Burns back to Ireland.

This is the first time the two clubs have met in South County Dublin on the opening night of the campaign since 2011 when Rovers beat a Dundalk side that had goalkeeper Peter Cherrie sent off in the first half by three goals to one.

That game was played in front of 5,263 supporters. Just less than double that could be in attendance on Friday night following the opening of the new North Stand at Tallaght Stadium.

Team news
Club captain John Mountney, whose wife Shannon gave birth to a baby girl earlier in the week, resumed training on Thursday, meaning that O’Donnell has a fully fit squad at his disposal.

Quotes – Stephen O’Donnell
“We’re happy with our recruitment and we’re excited about the group that we have. There is a freshness about us that I don’t think was there over the last two seasons. That brings a bit of the unknown but all we can do is be attentive to everything that we do in our detail and try and gel as quickly as we can. The way to do that is by training well and creating a dynamic and togetherness in the squad.

“I was at the President’s Cup final last week and Shamrock Rovers looked strong and deserved to win. They have a plethora of options so we’re well aware of the task at hand but we’re looking forward to it. It’s live on national TV, there’ll be a great crowd, a new stand opening, and a great arena for players to show what they’re about.”

Quotes – Zak Bradshaw
“All we’ve been speaking about since I came to the club a few weeks ago was about starting the season off well and there’s no better game to show what we’re about as a group than going to face the champions.

“It’s live on national TV and for a lot of us, it’ll be our first league game for Dundalk and a chance to show the supporters what we can do we so we’re just really looking forward to it now.”

New Arrivals: Dara Keane (UCD), Koen Oostenbrink (FC Eindhoven), Robbie Mahon (Motherwell), Jamie Walker (Kelty Hearts), Ross Munro (Ross County), Jamie Gullan (Raith Rovers), Ciaran McGuckin (Rotherham United on loan), Zak Johnson (Sunderland on loan), Scott High (Huddersfield Town on loan), Zak Bradshaw (Lincoln City on loan), George Shelvey (Nottingham Forest).

Departures: Daniel Kelly (Derry City), Keith Ward (Shelbourne), John Martin (Shelbourne), Robbie McCourt (Waterford), Mark Byrne (Glenavon), Darragh Leahy (Waterford), Connor Malley (Sligo Rovers), Patrick Hoban (Derry City), Senan Mullen (Torino), Darren Brownlie (Released), Greg Sloggett (Cheltenham Town), Alfie Lewis (Released).

Ticket Information
Tickets are on general sale at this link.

Supporter Information
Dundalk supporters are asked to enter the away section at Tallaght Stadium via the blue bridge from the Square Shopping Centre.

How to Watch and Listen
The game will be broadcast live on RTE2 while there will also be live commentary on LMFM and Dundalk FM. If you’re unable to make the trip to Tallaght Stadium on Friday night, the Lilywhite Lounge will be open from 6.30pm to show the game live. You can follow the action across our social media channels. We will also have highlights and exclusive reaction for you after the final whistle on our website and social media.

Match Officials
Rob Hennessy.
Emmet Dynan and Allen Lynch.
Fourth Official:
Paul Norton.