Dundalk FC's Seán Gannon and Jack Byrne of Shamrock Rovers during the teams' earlier meeting at Tallaght Stadium. (Pic: Sportsfile)
Five of Dundalk FC’s 40 SSE Airtricity League Premier Division goals this season have come beyond the 85th minute, something which serves to underline their developing reputation as a second half team.
And, by coincidence, on the basis of their league record against Shamrock Rovers at Friday night’s venue, Tallaght Stadium, you could safely draw the same conclusion.
Of their past 10 meetings in South Dublin, four have been won by Dundalk, with another four drawn. Rovers have won just one of the past nine Tallaght league clashes.
In that period, which stretches back to the early summer of 2013, Dundalk have scored almost twice as many goals in the fixture, 15 to eight. The Hoops’ return is split equally across both halves; four in the first and the same after half-time.
But Dundalk’s portion is significantly one-sided. The Lilywhites have struck just thrice before the short whistle and only once since 2016, that being Patrick Hoban’s equaliser in last June’s 5-2 win. Twelve of their 15 league goals in Tallaght have been scored in the second half. Half of the 10 related games have resulted in Dundalk keeping clean sheets, a trend which is similar to their record this season.
The Lilywhites have kept five shutouts across their 11 home games and prevented the opposition from scoring in half of their treks away from Louth.
Extraordinarily, Vinny Perth’s men are yet to concede a second half goal away from home all season, while registering nine of their 17 in the same period, compared to the 9-14 breakdown at Oriel Park.
What to make of all this?
Well, it perhaps suggests that if Rovers are to secure the points they so badly need, they’ll have to take the initiative in the first half and build a lead, most likely greater than one.
On the other hand, if Dundalk are able to maintain a fifth successive league clean sheet, they’ll back themselves, especially during the second half, to use the platform effectively.
For the reading punters, a few quid on a half-time draw, full-time win for Dundalk could be worth investing in, with Patrick Hoban an any-time scorer.