Finn set for early Oriel Park return

Dundalk host Shamrock Rovers on opening night of 2017 season

Gavin McLaughlin


Gavin McLaughlin


Finn set for early Oriel Park return

Ronan Finn will return to Oriel Park with his new club Shamrock Rovers on the opening night of the 2017 season. Picture: Ciaran Culligan

Ronan Finn will make a quick return to Oriel Park when Shamrock Rovers face Dundalk on the opening night of the 2017 SSE Airtricity League season.

After two years with Dundalk, Finn made a shock return to Tallaght last week but he won’t have to wait too long to face his old teammates with the Lilywhites set to host Stephen Bradley’s side on Friday, February 24.

Stephen Kenny’s face six games in March, including tough away trips to Sligo Rovers (March 4), Derry City (March 13) and Cork City (March 25). The month closes with the first Louth derby of the season when Drogheda United visit Oriel Park on March 31.

As was the case this year, Dundalk will play Cork City in the final game before the mid-season break on June 2, this time around it’s Dundalk who will have home advantage. The season resumes on June 16 with the second Louth derby of the campaign at United Park.

Dundalk fans will no doubt be looking ahead to the Champions League qualifiers in July which should result in games against  Bohemians (July 7), Galway United (July 14) and Shamrock Rovers (July 21) rearranged.

The final series of 11 games will see Dundalk play six home matches and five away. Intriguingly, the final five fixtures of the season - Drogheda United (home), Finn Harps (away), Bray Wanderers (home), Bohemians (home), Galway United (away) - are against newly promoted clubs or teams who finished outside of the top five in 2016 and Lilywhites supporters will no doubt be hoping to see Kenny’s side complete four-in-a-row in Galway on October 27.

Three teams will be relegated from the Premier Division in 2017 ahead of a ten-team top flight in 2018.