SSE Airtricity League Premier Division

Dundalk FC aiming to land in seventh heaven as resurgent Derry prepare to visit Oriel

SSE Airtricity League Premier Division

Keith Wallace

Reporter:

Keith Wallace

Email:

sport@dundalkdemocrat.ie

Dundalk FC aiming to land in seventh heaven as resurgent Derry prepare to visit Oriel

Dundalk FC head coach Vinny Perth has watched his team win five matches in a row. (Pic: Sportsfile)

Dundalk FC will be aiming to land in seventh heaven when Derry City are the latest high-profile visitors to Oriel Park this Friday evening (7.45pm), as the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division sets about catching its breath.

April saw Vinny Perth’s team navigate their way through seven tightly-packed league assignments. It was a month where they continued to make the most of home comforts, and they will hope for more of the same with four of their six league fixtures in May coming on the Carrick Road.

High-fliers Shamrock Rovers and Bohemians, along with basement side Finn Harps, all left the home of the champions with nothing to show for their efforts. Cork City, Waterford and UCD had fallen there in the weeks prior.

Perth will be particularly pleased with their defensive displays in those six successive wins, with only two goals conceded in the last 560-plus minutes of action in Dundalk. He, too, is delighted with the backing he has received.

“To be fair, the supporters have really got behind us,” Vinny said. “In many ways, the highlight of my season – it’s just the way my brain works – is the support we got up in Richmond Park (1-0 defeat). It was brilliant. It sticks in my memory – that showed real support.

“I understand that people that support this club want us to be in a better position, want us to be ahead of where we are. But at the same time, they have shown a huge amount of support, for a new management structure that they have questions about. The goodwill around town is phenomenal.”

Perth’s predecessor, Stephen Kenny’s longest winning league run at Oriel Park in a single season was seven, which he achieved three times – in 2015, 2016 and 2018. Already, Dundalk’s new head coach would equal that sequence if they see off Derry. They have already won at The Brandywell this year, 2-0 in mid-March thanks to Seán Murray and Patrick Hoban.

However, they will certainly not have it all their own way here. Derry have been rejuvenated under returning boss Declan Devine. While they remain in touch at the top, the Candystripes’ expectations will be realistic, with a return to the European stage the height of their ambitions. That, and cup-competition progress, would be a successful campaign.

Derry have, more often than not, given as good as they have got on their trips to Oriel Park. Twelve months ago, they twice battled back from behind to earn a 2-2 draw. Later in the season, they staged a late rally to make Dundalk sweat out a 3-2 win. However, it must be noted that Derry have not left the town with all three points since April 2013 – early in the Kenny era.

May’s league fixtures are; Derry (H, May 3), Bohemians (A, May 10), Cork City (A, May 17), Bohemians (H, May 20), St. Patrick’s Athletic (H, May 24), Sligo Rovers (H, May 31).