Seán Connor during his time as Dundalk FC manager. (Pic: Sportsfile)
Vinny Perth can become just the second Dundalk FC supremo to win on their first league visit to Cork City since the club returned to the Premier Division, on Friday night.
While Ian Foster never faced the Leesiders in the top-flight during his two seasons at the helm, only Seán Connor, in 2009 - the year they returned from First Division wilderness, has managed to leave Turner’s Cross with three points on his maiden visit.
Seán McCaffrey suffered a 3-2 loss in May 2012, while stand-in Darius Kierans went down 3-0 the following October before Stephen Kenny, in June 2013, drew 2-2, with Brian Gartland among the scorers.
Perth, of course, has already masterminded a Dundalk victory in Cork this season, the President’s Cup encounter earning the Lilywhites a 2-1 victory and the head coach early silverware.
And, following a strong April run and good performance at Dalymount Park last Friday night, the Dubliner will be confident of his team prevailing on the Curragh Road yet again.
Although the Rebels are in a different place three months on from the season-opening clash. With former assistant John Cotter now manning the touchline, following John Caulfield’s parting, their form has improved in May, wins over Bohemians and UCD ensuring they enter this one in search of a three-timer for the first time this season.
And you would imagine that one of Cotter’s main aspirations upon his ascension was to restore City’s formidable home reputation, which has taken a battering this term with just two wins from eight.
Compare this to their run of previous years and you see just how integral Cork’s home failings have been to their disappointing campaign thus far. In Caulfield’s five years at the helm, the Leesiders lost just nine home league games, just one more than Dundalk in the same period.
They never lost more than two home Premier Division matches in the one campaign during the time in question either.
So Friday night is all set-up, with records of some sort set to fall. But will it be Perth or Cotter’s strong sequence of results that come to an end? Will Cork’s home form continue to suffer, or will Perth follow Connor’s lead?
They may not be the top-two any longer, according to the table, but this Cork/Dundalk clash incorporates all the intrigue and unpredictability of their ferociously competitive recent-year rivalry.