Dundalk -v- ShelbourneThu, Sep 20 2012
Dundalk go into Friday’s home league game with Shelbourne on the back of their FAI Ford Cup quarter-final away win over Bohemians last week. Having been drawn out of the hat earlier in the week against St. Patrick’s Athletic for their first FAI Cup semi-final in a decade, on Friday it is the league they need to concentrate on as they are seven points adrift at the bottom of the table.
Dundalk have just three league wins to their name this season with just one of those wins at home. That was a 2-1 win over UCD back in March this year with Chris Shields and Shane O’Neill on the scoresheet for The Lilywhites.
It was Dundalk’s Australian born striker Mark Griffin who was the hero for Dundalk last Friday with his 75th minute strike being the difference between the two teams in the cup game in Dalymount Park. Darius Kearns has no suspension problems for the game but it seems he may well have to do without Garreth Brady, Peter Thomas, Robbie Gaul and Barry Conlon who all have injury concerns.
Shelbourne face the trip to Oriel Park on Friday night to take on Dundalk with a win under their belts from last week. Both teams qualified for the FAI Ford Cup last Friday night but they avoided each other in Monday’s semi-final draw. Shels knocked out Shamrock Rovers 2-1 at Tolka Park in a well deserved win for the Reds. It was the first time Shels had beaten Rovers in a major competition since 2005.
However, Shels are still without a win in the league for nine games dating back to their 3-2 away win against Bray Wanderers in mid-July. They will be hoping that it will be back-to-back wins after this Friday’s clash with bottom of the table Dundalk. Alan Mathews is targeting a strong finish to the season.
“We will go into Friday’s game well prepared as we do for each game,” said Mathews ahead of the match. “There are still 15 league points to be won and we want to get as many of them as possible to push up the table. We have the players to do so. I can’t complain about the efforts they have put in though out the season. This will be another tough assignment, as there are no easy games in the league and we’ll be pushing for the three points on Friday night.”
Shels will have to do without Anto Murphy who is suspended following his sending off against St Patrick’s Athletic earlier in the month. Alan Mathews will wait till nearer kick off to decide if strikers Philly Hughes and Philly Gorman are fit enough for selection. Philly Gorman scored two goals for Shels in their win over Dundalk earlier in the season but he has an issue with his hip. Meanwhile, Philly Hughes, who scored both goals in Shels’ win against Rovers last week, has a groin problem that he is hoping to overcome.
Referee: Graham Kelly.
Shels have been involved in only two 0-0 draws this season. One of those was the draw on Good Friday in Oriel Park against Dundalk. In their other fixture this season, it was a a comprehensive 4-0 win for Shels.
The Shelbourne ‘Philly’ strikeforce has scored 24 goals between them this season. Philly Hughes has 16 in all competitions including nine in the league. Philly Gorman has eight goals, six coming in Airtricity League games.
September 2008 was the last time Dundalk got a win over Shelbourne. That was a 2-1 win in Oriel Park.
Dundalk 9/5; Draw 9/4; Shelbourne 7/5.
Dundalk Injury News: Garreth Brady, Peter Thomas, Robbie Gaul, Barry Conlon (all doubtful).
Dundalk Suspension News: None.
Shelbourne Injury News: None.
Shelbourne Suspension News: Anto Murphy.
Macdara made his debut as a football supporter in Lansdowne Road watching Ireland defeat Liechtenstein. He still believes one day he will see his club Shamrock Rovers win an FAI Cup. You can follow Macdara on twitter @macdarabueller