Dundalk’s problems on and off the field have been well-documented this season however they somehow find themselves in an FAI Cup semi-final against St. Patrick’s Athletic. Speaking to extratime.ie on the eve of the massive encounter, interim manager, Darius Kierans admits he is looking forward to the occasion and can’t see why his side can’t come out on top.
“I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a massive occasion, an awful lot at stake. It’s going to be a tough game, no doubt about it, but it’s a one-off game and if we play like we can then there’s no reason why we can’t win.”
The Lilywhites have suffered back-to-back heavy losses at the hands of Shamrock Rovers and Derry City respectively in the past 8 days however while conceding it has been a tough week, Kierans is pleased with how the training has went and is hoping his young side can rise to the challenge.
“It’s been a tough week, the results are not what we wanted but the mood has been good in training. The boys are working hard and they realise what’s at stake. A lot of them are young lads at the beginning of their careers, this is massive for them. Hopefully they can relish the challenge and give a good account of themselves.”
Having won their last Cup in 2002, their wait has been significantly shorter than St. Patrick’s Athletic, however the 33 year-old has praised the work done by Liam Buckley in the current crop and thinks maybe the burden of a 51 year drought for the Saints may weigh on their opponents mind at some point.
“It has been a long time for them. They have a strong team. Liam Buckley has done a great job there. He has built a good side, they play football the right way and look at them, they’re challenging for the title. They’ve done really well.
“I don’t think the 51 years will be that important but you never know, they’re expected to beat us so it could play a part.”
When given the job in July, the former Drogheda United boss’ task was to keep the club afloat. Having achieved that, he admits that this Cup run was unexpected but knows it has been a good distraction to his side and is hoping that the Louth club can get some ‘Cup luck’ to take them to the Aviva Stadium on November 4th.
“The Cup is a welcome break. The initial goal when I came in was to keep the club alive. We had to let players go, some staff and management to achieve that but we did and being in a relegation playoff was always going to be likely.
“The Cup has been very good to us this year. It’d be massive for the club to get to a Cup final. I know we’ve enjoyed it and maybe we will get that little bit of luck we need that has evaded us in the league on Sunday.”