• The 2023 League of Ireland season gets underway on Friday night when Dundalk welcome UCD to Oriel Park at 7.45pm.
  • Dundalk midfielder Greg Sloggett is looking forward to taking on his old club when UCD come to Oriel Park for Friday night’s League of Ireland opener. Photo: Sportsfile.

After 102 days, the countdown is finally over and we are back for the opening night of the new League of Ireland season against UCD at Oriel Park. Kickoff is at 7.45pm.

Stephen O’Donnell has added some fresh faces to his squad during the off-season with Hayden Muller, Louie Annesley, Archie Davies, Cameron Elliott and Connor Malley all arriving from the UK ahead of the new campaign.

Last season, O’Donnell guided Dundalk to a fantastic third place finish – and a return to European football this summer. A big factor in that was Dundalk’s home form – the Lilywhites lost just once at Oriel Park throughout the 2022 season.

Team news

John Mountney (knee) and Robbie McCourt (suspension) miss out but Daniel Kelly is back in the squad after resuming training this week.

Quotes – Stephen O’Donnell

“We’ll be competitive in every game and if we’re not, we could get turned over on any given day. We showed that last year. We beat every team in the league and we dropped points as well against teams that were down around the bottom of the table.

“One of those teams was UCD. They have a really good conveyer belt of talent coming through and they’ll come here tonight with freedom. Most of their squad is still playing college football so from a fitness, athleticism, power and dynamism point of view, they’ll be ready to go.

“Expectation-wise, we know that the pressure is on us but we’re relishing that. When there’s no expectancy on you, it means you’re obviously not at a big club or you’re not doing things right. We’re going to have to be patient, we’re going to have to play with a tempo and we’re going to have to play with quality.”

You can watch Stephen’s full pre-match interview below.

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Quotes – Greg Sloggett

“We’re after putting in almost two months of hard work and it’s all built for this game. There’s a good few of us in the dressing room who have played at UCD and we know all too well what they’ll be thinking. They always surprise people. They go into every game as underdogs and sometimes they impress a lot better than people think they will.

“From our point of view, we built a good base last season and we want to go above and beyond that. It’s a cliche but we’ll take it one game at a time but we’re setting our sights high and Friday night is the start of it.”

Black and White Town Podcast

On the fist episode of Black and White Town, the Official Dundlak FC Podcast, in association with BetRegal, we spoke to Alfie Lewis, new signings Louie Annesley and Cami Elliott, physio Conor Doran and John Mountney.

How can I follow the game?

There will be pre-match, in-game and post-match updates across all of the club’s official social media channels – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

The match will also be broadcast on radio with Adrian Taaffe and John Flanagan providing commentary on LMFM while John Murphy and Gerry Cunningham will also be on your wireless on Dundalk FM.

Alternatively, you can tune into the same commentary team on LOITV which is streaming the match live for just €7. Supporters can also avail of an LOITV Season Pass which costs just €120 and gives access to all 446 matches across the SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division, Men’s First Division and Women’s Premier Division.

How did pre-season go?

Pre-season was reasonably good as Dundalk went unbeaten in five games. There were victories against Cork City and Wexford with draws against Shelbourne, Finn Harps and Drogheda United, the latter in the annual Jim Malone Cup, which served as good preparation for the season ahead.

How did we fare against UCD in 2022?

We faced UCD four times last season with a record of two wins, one draw and one defeat. The two wins both came at Oriel Park thanks to 2-0 and 3-0 wins in April and July respectively. In May, UCD recovered from 2-0 down to salvage a 2-2 draw while in September the Students took a come from behind 3-2 win at the UCD Bowl.

Match Officials

Arnold Hunter will be the man in the middle with Darragh Keegan and Wayne McDonnell assisting him. Michael Connolly will act as fourth official.

Last 10 meetings with UCD (all competitions)

  • 09.09.2022 (LGE) UCD 3-2 Dundalk (Lonergan 51, 87 Duffy 79; Ward 40, Bradley 59)
  • 01.07.2022 (LGE) Dundalk 3-0 UCD (McMillan 51, Sloggett 57, Ward 90)
  • 06.05.2022 (LGE) UCD 2-2 Dundalk (Whelan 60, pen 76; Doyle 18, Hoban pen 54)
  • 01.04.2022 (LGE) Dundalk 2-0 UCD (D. Kelly 16, Hoban 47)
  • 30.08.2019 (LGE) UCD 0-5 Dundalk (Cleary 13, 90, Hoare 17, Duffy 70, G.Kelly 90)
  • 26.08.2019 (LGE) Dundalk 3-0 UCD (Duffy 3, 19, Hoban 38)
  • 27.05.2019 (LCUP) Dundalk 3-1 UCD (Gartland 7, Mountney 18, G. Kelly 90; Mahdy 79)
  • 22.04.2019 (LGE) UCD 1-3 Dundalk (Mahdy 11; Hoban pen 15, Duffy 51, G. Kelly 90)
  • 25.02.2019 (LGE) Dundalk 2-1 UCD (Hoban pen 52, Duffy 59; Farrugia 29)
  • 28.09.2018 (FCUP) Dundalk 1-0 UCD (McEleney 40)