Dundalk hope to recover from their derby day disaster by winning an away game for the first time since the final day of last season when they take on Waterford at the RSC on Friday night (kick-off 7.45pm).

A defensive mistake gifted Drogheda United the lead in the Bank Holiday Monday Louth Derby on Boyneside but Dundalk looked certain to pick up at least a point after home ‘keeper Jethren Barr was sent off and Jamie Gullan hammered in an equaliser from the resulting free-kick.

However, as Dundalk pushed for a winner in the ten minutes of  added time, they conceded a foul, with Hayden Cann scoring a 94th-minute winner from the set-piece to shoot Drogheda five points clear of Noel King’s men at the bottom of the SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division table.

Dundalk’s day worsened after the final whistle when goalkeeper George Shelvey was shown a red card, and he will now miss the trip south. The squad is also nursing injuries after a heavy workload, with this Friday being their seventh game in 28 days.

Ross Munro, who performed well in his six league appearances so far, is expected to step in for Shelvey, while the defence will also be boosted by the return of Zak Bradshaw. The on-loan Lincoln City man has shone at left-back in recent times but had to sit out the derby through suspension.

Dundalk’s plight is clear as they lie eight points from safety, but they will take encouragement from recent performances as they look to make inroads on Drogheda in the relegation playoff place, with seven games still to play between now and the midseason break in mid-June.

The Lilywhites had enjoyed a mini three-game unbeaten run before their defeat in Drogheda, and their two losses in their last six games have only been to late goals. However, their away form – collecting just two points from a possible 21 this year – will need to improve.

Having drawn at reigning champions Shamrock Rovers on the opening day, they lost four-in-a-row on the road, before coming from behind to earn a well-deserved point at Sligo Rovers last month. They also looked to have recovered from going one down last Monday only for Cann’s late intervention.

Now, they come up against a red-hot Waterford, who were the only team to win both of their fixtures on the long weekend. They followed up a 1-0 win in Sligo on Friday with an extremely impressive performance to down Shamrock Rovers 3-1 at Tallaght Stadium on Monday, to shoot up to sixth place on 19 points. They have the best away record in the division.

But Dundalk will hope that they can be another team to take points away from the RSC. Keith Long’s men have only picked up five of their total points there, with just one win – against St Patrick’s Athletic on March 4th – in their six outings so far, leaving them with the worst home record in the top flight.

Waterford have only scored in one of their last four home games, with their only point in that period coming in a scoreless draw with Galway United on April 12th, as they suffered defeats by Sligo, Shamrock Rovers and Derry City.

The Blues now, though, come up against a Dundalk side that have not won away from Oriel Park since beating already-relegated UCD 5-1 in Dublin last November, and who have the lowest points return on the road this year alongside Drogheda. Something has surely got to give here.


Given Waterford’s strong start to the season, it is easy to forget that they have just come up from the First Division. This Friday sees Dundalk travel to the RSC for the first time since losing 3-2 there in the FAI Cup quarter-finals in September 2022. Their last league trip there was a 1-1 draw 12 months earlier – see picture above.

The teams have already met this year, playing out a scoreless draw at Oriel Park on March 15th. A controversial late refereeing decision saw Dundalk’s Cami Elliott denied what appeared to be a clear penalty, although it was a night when a confident Munro had to produce a moment of brilliance in the first half to save his side.

Team News
Zak Bradshaw returns after missing the Louth Derby with Drogheda United due to suspension but George Shelvey misses out after being sent-off at the final whistle. Ciaran McGuckin, Dara Keane and Robbie Mahon are injured.

Quotes – Noel King
“There’s still 22 matches to go and if we had won against Drogheda on Monday, it wouldn’t have saved us; and although we lost, it doesn’t put us down.

“You would have thought we might have been able to see it out for a point at 1-1 but you are not going to go through a season without getting defeated.

“We have experienced players who have to deal with defeats and it’s about how we respond now.

“We’ll get going again and we’ll see how it pans out in Waterford on Friday.”

Quotes – Jamie Gullan
“You go into the changing room after losing a derby in that manner and it’s horrible. Any game or any loss like that is hard to take but especially a derby because we know what it means to the fans and everyone involved in the club. We just wish we could have got them the three points.

“There’s still a long way to go. We’re not going to be looking at the table and getting all worried about it. There’s a lot of football to be played and we know we’ve got enough in this changing room to get ourselves out of it.

“There’s no panic. We’ll just recover as quickly as possible and this Friday against Waterford is the only important game now. We’ll focus on that and take it week by week. I know that’s a cliché but it’s all we can do.

“We’ll go to the RSC and try to take the game to them and try to come home with the three points. The derby defeat hurts but the main focus now is Waterford on Friday and making it right.”

Match Officials
Referee: David Dunne
Assistants: Shane O’Brien and David Connolly
Fourth Official: Mark Moynihan

Ticket Info
Tickets for the game are now on general sale at this link.