Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill praised the second half efforts of his side, as they came from a goal ...Sun, Jun 11 2017
Dundalk will be hoping to get back to winning ways in the SSE Airtricity League on Friday night when struggling Bohemians come to town (kick-off 7.45pm).
The Lilywhites suffered their first home defeat of the season last week when Bray Wanderers ran out 3-1 winners in controversial fashion, with referee Jim McKell taking centre stage in what was Bray’s first victory at Oriel Park since 2012.
Now nine points adrift of Cork City at the top of the table, Stephen Kenny shuffled his pack in the EA Sports Cup last Monday but Dundalk needed extra time and a penalty shootout to dispose of UCD.
Steven Kinsella, on loan from Everton, was a shining light on the wing in what was an otherwise dreary encounter at Oriel Park, and Kenny believes that’s one area where Dundalk are particularly strong at the moment.
“We have three very exciting wingers at the club,” Kenny told the club's website.
“The young wingers – Jamie McGrath, Michael Duffy and Steven Kinsella – their talent gives me optimism for the future. Not only for this season but beyond. The three of them are young. Steven is 18, Jamie is just gone 20 and Michael is 22.
“The three of them provide me with optimism in the wider areas in the future. They have shown a real high level of skill in the matches that they have played in so far this season and hopefully that can continue this weekend against Bohemians.”
Dundalk are still without the injured trio of Robbie Benson, Sean Gannon and Shane Grimes for the visit of Bohs while Paddy Barrett and Niclas Vemmelund will both have to undergo late fitness tests.
Keith Long’s side suffered their third consecutive league defeat last Friday when they went down 2-0 to Cork City at Dalymount Park, leaving them just two points above the relegation zone.
However, the Bohemians manager believes that his players should take much encouragement from their recent displays, even if results haven’t gone their way.
"We've shown in our performances against Sligo and Cork that we are not a million miles off,” said Long on Thursday.
"We felt our performances really deserved something out of those two games. We obviously need players back, but it's certainly not doom and gloom.
“We spoke about mistakes at the back costing us again so we have to stop making them. That's especially the case against Dundalk tomorrow. If we don't all do our jobs, they have the players who can expose you."
Bohs have lost in all three of their league meetings with Dundalk last season and Long knows they’ll have to be at their very best if they’re to avoid a fourth straight defeat against the champions on Friday.
"We have to look after ourselves and our own performance. We're going up thinking we can get something out of it,” he continued.
"Dundalk don't lose many in Oriel Park. We are going have to work hard, play for each other and embrace the challenge. It's a tough test. Dundalk have new players and they will click eventually. We just have to do our best to make sure they don't click tomorrow."
Bohs are boosted by the return of Jamie Doyle and Ian Morris to the matchday squad. Top scorer Dinny Corcoran could also make an appearance on the substitutes bench having been out for over a month with a knee injury.
Ismahil Akinade and Eoin Wearen are long term absentees for the Gypsies while on-loan midfielder Georgie Poynton is ineligible to face his parent club.
Referee: Paul McLaughlin
This match will be the 321st competitive meeting between Dundalk and Bohemians. Their first encounter was a 1-1 draw at the old Athletic Grounds in 1926.
Bohemians have emerged victorious in 121 of those meetings while Dundalk have defeated the Gypsies on 118 occasions.
Derek Pender and Keith Ward have both had spells with The Lilywhites while current Dundalk captain Stephen O’Donnell was a double winner with Bohemians in 2008.
Dundalk 1/4; Draw 9/2; Bohemians 12/1
Dundalk 2-0 Bohemians
Injured: Robbie Benson, Shane Grimes (hamstring), Sean Gannon (knee).
Doubtful: Paddy Barrett (thigh), Niclas Vemmelund.
Injured: Ismahil Akinade (spleen), Eoin Wearen (cruciate).
Doubtful: Dinny Corcoran (knee).