Dundalk Head coach Vinny Perth
There has been a lot of doom and gloom around Oriel Park at the moment as Dundalk scramble to get themselves back up the table and out of the relegation play-off dogfight.
But tonight they get some brief respite from their league woes as they continue their defense of the Extra.ie FAI Cup when they meet Finn Harps in Ballybofey (kick off 8PM) with a place in the semi-finals on the line.
The sides have met nine times before in the competition, the Lilywhites coming out on top in six of those matches while the sides have also drawn three times.
Dundalk have gone on to lift the trophy on four of the last five occasions that the sides have met in the competition (1979, 1981, 2002 and 2018) and also boast a good record at Finn Park.
Their last defeat at the ground came in November 2007 when Harps beat John Gill’s side 2-0 in a Division One promotion play-off. Dundalk have won five of the subsequent seven fixtures at the ground, scoring 19 goals and conceding just two.
The sides have already met in the league on two occasions this season. In May, Ole Erik Midtskogen’s header cancelled out Barry McNamee’s opener in a 1-1 draw at Finn Park while David McMillan’s strike settled the corresponding league fixture at Oriel Park in July.
Ollie Horgan's side have been in great form at home of late, defeating league leaders Shamrock Rovers and second places St Pats as well as putting local rivals Derry City to the sword to book their place in this round of the cup.
Despite their ailing fortunes, head coach Vinny Perth has called on supporters to get behind the team as they look to continue their 2021 cup journey stating that it when the town comes together that they see results on the pitch.
“Friday night’s game is about Dundalk Football Club,” he said. “People might be disappointed with me, they might be disappointed with the players, and they might be disappointed with the owners, but I have been here for almost 10 years. I know Dundalk people, and when we stick together, we are quite a force - and we need to do that.
“We are looking forward to the game. There’s nothing we can do about outside noise, we have just been focusing on ourselves and we are confident we can take another step towards another cup final.”
Daniel Cleary and Han Jeongwoo return from suspension but Dundalk make the trip with a number of players missing through injury although Perth said there was a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel.
“Patrick McEleney and David McMillan have started running and Daniel Kelly received some positive news from a specialist so he is maybe three or four weeks away. It’s good news but it won’t kick in for another week or so. We just need to get through this game.”
Friday night’s game gets underway at 8pm. If the match finishes level after 90 minutes, it will go to a replay at Oriel Park on Tuesday, September 21st at 7.45pm.
The club have been given an allocation of 300 tickets by Finn Harps with tickets available to purchase at https://finnharps.ie/tickets/. Tickets must be purchased in advance as they will not be available at the ground. THe game will also be streamed on LOITV with a match pass costing €5.
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