Playoff Preview: Dundalk -v- Waterford UnitedMon, Oct 29 2012
It’s that time of year again and Dundalk host Waterford United in the crucial first leg of the promotion/relegation playoff at Oriel Park on Tuesday night.(kick-off 7.45 p.m.)
Dundalk will be looking to make home advantage count as they take on Waterford United in the playoff series. Having ended a winless streak of 18 matches with victory on Friday night, the Lilywhites will be hoping that the win has come at the right time to give the side a much-needed confidence boost. Dundalk produced a good performance on Friday evening also and they know that they will need to replicate that form over two legs if they are to preserve their Premier Division status.
Home form has been a struggle for the Louth club all season and Friday night was only their second league win at home all season and their first home win of any description since May. They will however be boosted by the return of John Mountney as he has recovered from having his appendix removed while Stephen Maher returns from suspension.
Mark Griffin, Chris Shields and Eoghan Osbourne will come into the match fresh having been rested on Friday evening. They do have a few injury worries – Paul Walsh is doubtful with a groin injury, Gary Shanahan with an ankle injury and influential centre-back Derek Foran is a serious doubt with a groin injury. Bob McKenna misses out through shin splints.
Speaking to Extratime.ie ahead of the game Dundalk interim manager, Darius Kierans, believes his side is ready for the challenge ahead.
“I am delighted that we won against Bray, ending the season on a high and it gives everyone a lift going into the playoffs."
“The last month preparing has been pleasing but I think we’re ready. We’ve known about it for a while so we’ll give it our best shot.”
Waterford United are bidding to end a five year stay in the First Division as they travel to Oriel Park on a high following their victory over two legs against Longford Town last week. An impressive season in division one saw the Blues finish runners-up to Limerick.
Waterford will be hoping that a season challenging for a league title and not locked in a relegation battle will stand to them as they look to take their league form into the first leg of the playoff. Despite having a poor recent record at the County Louth club, having lost on 2 of their last 3 visits, they will be hoping that this year’s team can put the record straight.
The visitors have a few injury concerns with Gary Dunphy definitely ruled out through long-term injury while Stephen Mulcahy is a slight doubt with a hamstring injury. Seamus Long and John Frost will sit out the trip due to suspension but all in all Waterford United should be heading to Louth in confident mood and be looking to claim victory over a Dundalk side who have struggled at home all season.
Speaking ahead of the match, Waterford United manager Paul O’Brien is determined to see his side into the Premier League this week and wants the support to remain the same as it was against Longford Town.
"The support that we had tonight(against Longford Town) was amazing and we will want the same here next week. We have come too far to let things slip away and the supporters can play a major role.
“This club wants to be a Premier League club and the time is right to fulfill that ambition. We will leave no stone unturned next week to complete the job.”
Referee: Paul McLaughlin
This will be the first meeting of the sides since their EA Sports Cup quarter-final meeting in June 2010 – Dundalk prevailed on a score line of 2 goals to 1 at the RSC. This will be the first meeting of the side’s at Oriel Park since August 2008 where Dundalk again emerged victorious 2-1.
This will be the 3rd time that Dundalk and Waterford United have met in a playoff series. Both were shrouded in controversy. 1997 Dundalk won 3-1 on aggregate with the infamous signing of Jeff McNamara the talking point and of course the promotion fiasco of 2006 when the Lilywhites beat the Blues 3-2 but the IAG denied them a place in the top flight.
Dundalk have only won 3 matches competitively at home in 2012 while Waterford United have won 12 away competitively in 2012.
Dundalk- 4/5 Draw- 23/10 Waterford United-12/5
A tense affair but Dundalk to edge it 1-0.
Dundalk injury news: Derek Foran, Paul Walsh Gary Shanahan(all doubtful) and Bob McKenna (out).
Dundalk suspension news: None.
Waterford United injury news: Gary Dunphy(out) and Stephen Mulcahy(doubtful).
Waterford United suspension news: Seamus Long and John Frost.