Prem
Date: 7:45 p.m. Feb. 16, 2018
Venue: Oriel Park
Att: 2,491
TV:



League Preview: Dundalk -v- Bray Wanderers

Thu, Feb 15 2018

Bray ran out 3-1 winners in the last Oriel Park meeting between the sides in April 2017. Credit: Larry McQuillan

DUNDALK

Much has changed since the Lilywhites last took to the field at Oriel Park in league action last October, with the long-anticipated takeover of an American-based consortium led by PEAK6 Investments having been completed last month, and Mike Treacy installed as chairman.

 

There has also been plenty of changes on the field with no fewer than eight new arrivals at the club. Krisztian Adorjan, Stephen Folan, Dean Jarvis and Ronan Murray are all available to make their league debuts for club, but Lithuanian midfielder Karolis Chvedukas is a doubt as he recovers from a virus that kept him out of the President’s Cup match last weekend.

 

Another man in line for his Dundalk bow is former Liverpool and Birmingham City defender Daniel Cleary, who only signed for the club on Thursday afternoon but has been deemed eligible to play.

 

Dundalk will be without the services of captain Stephen O’Donnell through a calf injury, while John Mountney remains out with a knee injury he sustained during pre-season.

 

Sean Hoare also misses the opening league fixture after being forced off with a hamstring problem in the President’s Cup.

 

 

BRAY WANDERERS

Speaking of change, Bray Wanderers are heading into the 2018 campaign with a new manager – Dave Mackey, who made close to a century of appearances for Dundalk between 1989 and 1993.

 

Tipped by many to go down this season following a turbulent year off the pitch in 2017, Mackey is already in survival mode, insisting that retaining their top-flight status is the main target for his side this term.

 

“The main goal this year in the Premier Division is to maintain our Premier Division status,” he told Wicklow News.

 

“Obviously we’ll be looking to build on the great work that was done last year by Harry Kenny, the management team, and the players so we’ll be looking to build on that but the main goal is to retain our Premier Division status.”

 

Despite failing to win any of their pre-season matches, which included a 3-0 home defeat to Wexford as well as draws with UCD and Drogheda United, Mackey praised the character of his players, given that their preparations were overshadowed by fresh match-fixing allegations which the club was later cleared of.

 

“In the circumstances, I am really pleased with how the pre-season has gone. It has had no impact whatsoever because my focus has been purely on the football side.

 

“In actual fact I haven’t given a thought to it. I just like to focus on what I can control and what I can control is on the football side. We never discussed it and we never gave it a second thought.”

 

 

Referee: Rob Rogers

 

 

MATCH FACTS

The last time Dundalk failed to win their opening league fixture was back in 2014 when they succumbed to a surprise 4-1 defeat at Drogheda United. The Lilywhites have beaten Longford Town, Bray Wanderers and Shamrock Rovers on the opening night of each of the past three seasons.

 

By contrast, Bray have won just one of their previous four opening night fixtures – that win came last season when goals from Anto Flood and Gary McCabe saw them defeat St Patrick’s Athletic 2-1.

 

Friday night’s match will represent the 71st meeting between the sides and Dundalk have the upper hand, winning 33 of those encounters to Bray’s 21 since their first meeting back in 1985/86.

 

 

BETTING

Dundalk 1/5; Draw 9/2; Bray Wanderers 10/1.

 

PREDICTION

Dundalk 3 – 0 Bray Wanderers

 

 

Dundalk

Injured: Stephen O’Donnell, John Mountney, Sean Hoare.

Doubtful: Karolis Chvedukas.

Suspended: None.

 

Bray Wanderers

Injured: Unknown.

Doubtful: Unknown.

Suspended: None.



Dundalk
Gary Rogers
Goalkeeper
Dane Massey
Defender
Dean Jarvis
Defender
Sean Gannon
Defender
Stephen Folan
87Booked: 87'
Defender
Chris Shields
59Booked: 59'
Midfielder
Jamie McGrath
81'
81Subbed Off: 81'
Midfielder
Michael Duffy
Midfielder
Dylan Connolly
60'
60Subbed Off: 60'
Midfielder
Robbie Benson
Midfielder
Ronan Murray
68'
68Subbed Off: 68'
Forward

Substitutes
Gabriel Sava
Goalkeeper
George Poynton
Midfield
Jack O'Keeffe
Forward
Patrick Hoban
68'
68Subbed On: 68'
Forward
Daniel Cleary
Defender
Sam Byrne
81'
81Subbed On: 81'
Forward
Krisztián Adorján
60'
60Subbed On: 60'
Forward
Bray Wanderers
Aaron Dillon
Goalkeeper
Hugh Douglas
Defender
Sean Heaney
Defender
Kevin Lynch
Defender
62Booked: 62'
Gary McCabe
Midfielder
Daniel McKenna
Midfielder
Paul O'Conor
Midfielder
John Sullivan
Midfielder 63'
63Subbed Off: 63'
Rónán Coughlan
Forward 74'
74Subbed Off: 74'
Cory Galvin
Forward
25Booked: 25'
Aaron Greene
Forward

Substitutes
Rhys Gorman
Midfield
Dylan Hayes
Defender
Jake Kelly
Midfield
Daniel Kelly
Forward
74Subbed On: 74'
74'
Evan Moran
Goalkeeper
Darragh Noone
Midfield
63Subbed On: 63'
63'
Ger Pender
Forward


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