After an FAI Cup slugfest with Wexford on Friday night, Dundalk are back on their travels again on Monday when they make the trip west to take on Sligo Rovers in a rescheduled league game at The Showgrounds.
This will be the third meeting between the sides this season. A scoreless draw in Sligo back in March was followed by a Dundalk win at Oriel Park in April when Patrick Hoban and Daniel Kelly put the Lilywhites 2-0 up before Max Mata pulled one back for the Bit o’Red. Monday night’s fixture was originally due to take place back in June but was postponed due to international call-ups.
In contrast to Dundalk, who had to navigate 120 minutes of action in Ferrycarrig Park on Friday night, John Rusell’s men, who were knocked out of the competition by Wexford in round one, have had the luxury of a 10-day lead in to Monday night’s fixture, much to Stephen O’Donnell’s frustration.
“It’s shambolic that we have to play a league game just three nights after a cup game whereas Sligo have had 10 days to prepare,” said the Lilywhites head coach. “They get rewarded for getting beaten in the cup,”
“I don’t know how that is allowed to happen. How the game wasn’t fixed for a Monday after both clubs were playing in a Premier Division game, I’ll never know.”
Robbie Benson, who came off the bench to score Dundalk’s winner from the penalty spot in Wexford, also voiced his frustration but said that the Lilywhites were focused on claiming their first win at The Showgrounds since the FAI Cup semi-final back in 2019.
“It’s not as though the game was fixed before Sligo went out of the cup in the first round,” said Benson. “It’s disappointing but we’re not going to complain.
“We just have to get on with it and do our business. We did our recovery and our homework over the weekend so we just have to get on with it.”
Benson’s words were echoed by Ryan O’Kane, who also came on as a sub in the south-east to devastating effect; the 19-year-old hauling Dundalk level with his first goal for the club.
“Straight after the game on Friday, we got into the dressing room and Monday was our main focus. Our minds are switched on and we’re ready to go.”
A win would move Dundalk six points clear of third-placed Derry City and 10 ahead of fourth-placed St Patrick’s Athletic, albeit with two games more played. Sligo Rovers occupy fifth place, 14 points adrift of the Lilywhites.