Dundalk 'fresh' after break


FAI Cup and news:Perched nicely at the top of the first division table as they went into the mid-season break a couple of weeks back, Dundalk will look to get back into action by making a similarly positive start to their Ford-sponsored FAI Cup campaign at Oriel Park this evening (7.45).

Athlone Town travel without Robbie Hamm, Des Hope, Carmine Russo, Jim Sheridan and the suspended Davy Byrne for the game but John Gill has problems of his own with Trevor Vaughan and Ben Whelehan injured and Shaun Williams prevented from playing by the terms of his loan deal from Drogheda United.

"The break's been good for us, I think," says the Dundalk boss after watching his players in training this week.

"They're fresh and focused which is clearly important. It's an important game for us and it leads straight into another one (against second-placed Cobh Ramblers in the league next week) so we'll want it to be decisive, we'll look to win it at the first attempt."

Shamrock Rovers striker Tadhg Purcell has been named the Eircom/Soccer Writers association Player of the Month for May after helping Pat Scully's side to wins over Sligo Rovers, Cork City and Drogheda United.

"It's been a brilliant time with Rovers this season," said the 21- year-old who rounded off a decent day last night by getting the news that he had been awarded an honours degree in botany.

"The strikers get the headlines because we score the goals but it's the team that has been getting the results," he said.

Mick Neville was last night officially unveiled as the football in the community development officer for Co Louth.

The former Shelbourne defender has been a key member of the club's backroom staff since retiring from playing.

"I want to help the clubs in the county develop, get more women involved in playing and coaching and work with local community groups to improve social inclusion using football," said Neville, who takes up his new role with immediate effect.

In yesterday's edition it was mistakenly stated that the FAI would consider applications for tickets for Ireland's European Championship game against Slovakia in Bratislava from non-block bookers.

In fact, the association is not in a position to do this as it has received just 2,500 tickets for the match.