FORMER Dundalk striker Tiarnan Mulvenna insists that Drogheda United “will hold no fears” about going to Oriel Park for their FAI Cup 4th Round replay on Tuesday night.
Mark Quigley’s 44th minute penalty ensured Dundalk a replay in last Friday night’s cup tie at Hunky Dory’s Park but Mulvenna and his team-mates were given great encouragement by their second-half display which saw them keep Dundalk comfortably at bay despite playing with ten men.
“To be honest, I think we have Dundalk rattled”, he said after Friday’s 1-1 draw. “The last three games we’ve played against them, we should have won them all. The sending off didn’t help us but even when they had the extra man in the second-half, Dundalk didn’t threaten us at all. Our goalkeeper didn’t have a save to make.
“Dundalk are usually good at knocking the ball around but they didn’t really do that when we went down to ten men, which surprised me”, he said.
“They seemed to play into our hands by playing a lot of long balls. Dave Rogers is as experienced as they come and Alan McNally just swept everything up. We won plenty of second balls and I think we played some good football with ten men.
“Our only regret is that we didn’t score more in the first-half. We had the opportunities. I fluffed a shot and Brian Gannon went close with a header that just went past the post. We can take heart from that though. We’re definitely a team to be reckoned with.”
Drogheda United have already won at Oriel Park this season, winning 2-1 on Mulvenna’s debut in June. Mulvenna says it will be tough to register another win in front of the Oriel faithful but he is confident that his side can upset the form guide and especially the bookmakers who had them as rank outsiders to progress.
“The odds were a bit unfair tonight. I think we were something like 4/1 outsiders”, he said. “The first game I played in Oriel Park, we were 12/1. In the 2-2 draw two weeks ago we were 6/1 so I wonder what we’ll be for Tuesday night. If the bookies were here watching I don’t think we’d be 6/1.
“On paper it looks like another cracker”, he added. “It will be a close game and both sides know how each other play. There’ll be plenty of tackles, there could be more players sent-off and the atmosphere will be brilliant. It’s one of the bets derbies around.”
Deployed in his preferred striking role by Cooke, Mulvenna insists he is enjoying his football more than ever since arriving at Hunky Dory’s Park.
“I’ve a fresh enthusiasm for the game. I went back to Woodview and got a few goals there. We won the league as well and I really started to enjoy my football again. Mick has come in and he’s let me run around and play my game. It’s really enjoyable.
“For part-time players, we look really fit”, he added. “Mick pointed out that Dundalk players were going down with cramp and they’re full-time. We’re determined and we fancy we can get something on Tuesday night.”
Would he celebrate a last minute winner for Drogheda United in front of the Shed?
“There’s no hope of me doing that”, he smiled.
Dundalk are facing an injury crisis going into tonight’s replay. Marc Griffin and Ross Gaynor are doubtful, with the Lilywhites already down to the bare bones.
Manager Ian Foster is already without Eoghan Osborne (fractured tibia), Stephen McDonnell (knee) and Stephen Maher (fractured metatarsal), while Daniel Kearns looks set to move to Peterborough United.
And now Griffin (groin) and Gaynor (ankle) could be added to the absentee list, which would leave Dundalk with just ten fit outfield players.
q Dundalk have announced reduced ticket prices for the replay against Drogheda United at Oriel Park tonight (Tuesday). Kick-off 7.45pm.
The prices for Tuesday night are listed below. There are no concession tickets for the ground, with all adults €10.
Ticket Prices Stand - Adults €15; Concessions €10; Juveniles (U-14s) €5. Ground - Adults €10; Juveniles (U-14s) €5. Please note Season Tickets do not apply for this game.