Dundalk -v- Shamrock RoversThu, Jul 12 2012
With financial issues threatening the future of Dundalk, they head into this weekend’s game against the champions with more pressing issues than just the football match. The club has been officially put up for sale and advertisements have been placed in the local and national media inviting offers for the club and its assets. Cuts have been made off the pitch in terms of budget and manager Sean McCaffrey has to release players just to help ensure the club stays afloat. The Dundalk Community Trust have expressed an interest in taking over the club but their bid is in its early stages. With the very real threat of the club going out of existence, a supporters group has been set up in a bid to raise funds to support the club. The group are fundraising and all money raised will go directly to the club.
On the pitch, Dundalk will be aiming to avenge the 6-0 drubbing they got at the hands of the champions back in April but the Lilywhites are on one of their most disappointing home runs in history. Last week they were heavily beaten 4-0 away to Shelbourne this after the running the league leaders Sligo Rovers close at Oriel Park a week earlier. Dundalk have only won one league match at Oriel all season, a 2-1 victory over UCD in March and have lost five on the bounce at their home venue. A drastic improvement on last week will be needed if they are to get anything from this week’s encounter.
For the visit of the Tallaght outfit, Dundalk will be without long- term absentees Ger Hanley (broken wrist) and Luke Danville (medial knee ligament) while local youngster Conor McDonald and striker Michael Rafter are carrying ankle knocks but have a chance of featuring. Ben McLaughlin should make a return to the starting-XI following his holiday. Peter Thomas is definitely out through suspension
Speaking in a press release before Friday night’s game, Dundalk boss McCaffrey is obviously disappointed with how the team are currently performing and was frustrated with how his senior players haven’t performed when needed. He also spoke of changing his strategy and approach.
“Defensively, we have got to get a lot better. We lack experience but that’s where you’re depending on your senior players – for the organisation.
“Maybe, we have to look at playing a different style of football; play a more defensive game and to do damage limitation and try to hit teams on the break.”
If Shamrock Rovers are to repeat their hammering that they handed Dundalk in April, they will have to up their game like champions can. Recent results prompted speculation to surround manager Stephen Kenny’s future. Kenny does remain in charge and they will be hoping for a favourable result this weekend at Oriel. The Hoops’ problems are not near as bad as their opponents however they will be looking to pile more misery on the Lilywhites as they bid to kick-start their title bid.
The champions go into the game on the back of a 1-1 draw against their Dublin rivals St. Patrick’s Athletic last Sunday. Having taken a late second half lead, they dropped two much needed points by giving away a goal in injury time. This followed a 4-0 hammering by their fierce rivals Bohemians. Shamrock Rovers away form has been below par but they will be looking at Oriel as a perfect opportunity to improve that record this weekend.
For the trip North of Dublin the Hoops will be without centre-back Graham Gartland as he is suspended and winger Aaron Greene through a knee injury. Other than those Stephen Kenny has an almost full strength squad to choose from.
Speaking ahead of the match, manager Kenny praised his sides performance last weekend and is hoping a similar effort will secure all three points this time around.
“The team put in a very good performance against St Pat’s last week, and I’ll be looking for the same again in Dundalk.
"We need to make sure we apply ourselves as well as we did last week and show the same passion and aggression. “
Referee: Tom Connolly
Dundalk are on their worst run at home in a single league season in their 86 year history having lost five in a row.
Shamrock Rovers have only won once in their last five visits to the border venue, that was a 2-1 win last September. Goals from Billy Dennehy and Stephen O’Donnell gave the champions victory that day. Mark Quigley grabbed a consolation late on for Dundalk.
Dundalk haven’t beaten Shamrock Rovers in six attempts. Their last victory was the remarkable 5-1 victory in September 2010.
Dundalk will be searching for their first clean sheet in 12 games. Shamrock Rovers haven’t kept a claimed a clean sheet at Oriel Park since April 2009.
Dundalk-11/2 Draw-3/1 Shamrock Rovers-1/2
Dundalk need points but unfortunately it doesn’t look like they will get them. Despite their recent form, Shamrock Rovers to condemn the Lilywhites to six home defeats in a row – 3-0.
Dundalk injury news: Luke Danville(out), Ger Hanley(out), Michael Rafter(doubtful), Conor McDonald(doubtful).
Dundalk suspension news: Peter Thomas.
Shamrock Rovers injury news: Aaron Greene(out)
Shamrock Rovers suspension news: Graham Gartland