League Preview: Dundalk -v- Limerick

Thu, Jun 07 2018

Chris Shields misses out with suspension (picture not related). Credit: Michael P Ryan

DUNDALK

Dundalk will hope to make it seven consecutive wins in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division when they welcome struggling Limerick to Oriel Park on Friday night (kick-off 7.45pm).

The Lilywhites came from behind last weekend as they swept aside Shamrock Rovers thanks to a brace from Robbie Benson and goals from Patrick Hoban, Daniel Cleary and Dane Massey.

One man who played that match and has improved his form in recent weeks is Dylan Connolly, who was subject to much criticism from fans and commentators alike earlier in the season.

“We showed brilliant mental strength to come back last week against Shamrock Rovers,” Connolly told the club's official website.

“We went down a goal early and they maybe could have scored another couple but we were able to keep it at 1-0 and that was important.

“It was important that we kept it tight and we reacted well to them going ahead. We did well to get back into the game and we did well to turn things around in the way that we did.

“We knew it was going to be a difficult game in Tallaght. They are tough to play against but it was a great performance from us in the second half.

“We didn’t start great but that didn’t matter in the end and it was another good three points for us.

“The goal just before half-time was important to us and we needed to go in at half time level to kick on in the second half.

“It shows what we are made of and we managed to take the win. We showed great character.

“Even when they got their second, we got two more goals on the night straight after to go on and see the game out. We were able to come back and win the game and we were delighted to do that.

“It’s the last home game before the break tonight and it would be great to have a good crowd in for it. We are in good form. We are playing well and want to go into the break with two good wins.

“Limerick have given us tough games this year so we know what to expect but we have won the last six in the league, eight in all competitions so we are confident.”

Long-term absentees John Mountney and Stephen O’Donnell remain on the treatment table for Dundalk.

Chris Shields misses out through a one-match suspension, which could pave the way for returning Lithuanian international Karolis Chvedukas to make his first league start since March.

Sean Gannon, who hasn’t played in the league since April, came on as a substitute in Tuesday night’s Leinster Senior Cup win over Bohemians but is unlikely to play any part for the visit of Limerick.

LIMERICK

Limerick’s players were rocked by the news that the club will look to let players leave once the July transfer window opens, following delays in receiving wages.

Tommy Barrett’s side put in a spirited performance at Markets Field last weekend however and were denied all three points against Bohemians late on after Barry Maguire had put the Blues in front.

Barrett will be keen to avoid a repeat of what happened on his side’s last visit to Oriel Park, when they rather embarrassingly conceded eight goals without reply in the snow at the end of February.

“Obviously, you don’t want it happening again, but we’re in a better position now,” Barrett told the club's website.

“We’re playing a lot better, we have a more settled team, we have less injuries. We have to go up there, try to play on the front foot and try to be as positive as possible.”

“Of course, it will be tough. They have beaten us 8-0 and 3-0. They’re a very good side – they have players that can score from everywhere. It will be a really difficult task for us.

“We’re playing well so we hope to put in a good performance. I thought at home last week we were very good, and the last few weeks there, but we just haven’t been getting the results that our performances probably deserve.

“You could argue that Bohs probably could have won the game last week. But I think in the first half we should have had the game over – it should have been 2 or 3-0. You have got to take your chances in this league.

“Obviously, it will be a more difficult task on Friday. Dundalk are one of the top teams in the country. They play excellent football.

“They have good players all over the park. But we have good players as well and we’re playing well at the moment, so we’ll go up there and hopefully put in a performance.

“Before the break we have Dundalk and Rovers left – two tough games. We’ll give it our best shot to try to pick up a couple of points.”

The Blues will be without the injured trio of Darren Dennehy, Connor Ellis and Danny Morrissey while Henry Cameron is on international duty with New Zealand.

18-year-old Karl O’Sullivan is also unavailable to make the trip to Dundalk as he is currently sitting his Leaving Certificate exams.

 

Referee: Neil Doyle

 

MATCH FACTS

This will be the 228th meeting of both sides and Dundalk have emerged victorious on 124 occasions, whereas Limerick have won 56 times since winning the very first encounter 2-0 back in October 1937.

Limerick have not tasted victory against Dundalk in any of the previous nine meetings between the sides, with their last win in this fixture coming when a Rory Gaffney brace saw them clinch a 2-1 win at Oriel Park in 2013.

Dundalk defender Stephen Folan previously spent two seasons with Limerick while Conor Clifford, Daniel Kearns and Shaun Kelly have all once upon a time plied their trade at Oriel Park.

 

BETTING

Dundalk 1/10; Draw 8/1; Limerick 22/1

PREDICTION

Dundalk 3-0 Limerick

 

Dundalk

Injured: John Mountney (knee), Stephen O’Donnell (broken leg).

Doubtful: Sean Gannon.

Suspended: Chris Shields.

Limerick

Injured: Darren Dennehy (ankle), Connor Ellis (hip) and Danny Morrissey (hamstring).

Doubtful: None.

Suspended: None.

Unavailable: Henry Cameron, Karl O’Sullivan.