Cork City a different proposition this time around for Dundalk
Stephen Kenny hoping his side can bounce back from Bray defeat
Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
Dundalk took seven points from their three games against Cork last season but the southerners are a different proposition this time around and Stephen Kenny’s side will do very well to bounce back from last week’s defeat in Bray by beating the league leaders this evening.
Kenny is likely to make a change or two after resting Pat Hoban, John Mountney and Darren Meenan at the Carlisle Grounds, while John Caulfield has Darren Dennehy back from suspension following the home draw with Bohemians.
City are top despite having a game in hand and a win tonight would most likely mean they would lead their rivals when they have all completed their first round of game; traditionally a point at which people take serious stock of the table.
Caulfield, though, is anxious to avoid the label of “title contenders” being attached to his side just yet, insisting:
“We’ve done fantastically well, although I keep saying I would like if we had more choices; not that the injury situation has helped.
“At the start of the season, though, we were saying we wanted to be in the top four and we are on track so far, but there is a long, long way to go.”
At the other end of the table Keith Long will get his first taste of action as Athlone manager with the former Dundalk, St Patrick’s Athletic and Bray midfielder targeting a win over his old club Wanderers, as a first small step towards an unlikely relegation escape act.
He’ll be missing Aidan Collins and Neil Harney for the game, while Alan Mathews will have a string of absentees – including Danny and Shane O’Connor as well as Jake Kelly – to contend with, although the visitors seemed to cope well enough last week when beating Dundalk at home.
Shamrock Rovers boss Trevor Croly will bring several experienced players back in for the visit of Limerick following the 3-0 Leinster Cup defeat of Bohemians but Conor Kenna and Ronan Finn are suspended for the game, while Eamon Zayed is ruled out by an elbow injury which, while it will keep him out for a few weeks, may not be as bad as thought.
Stuart Taylor travels in the hope of seeing his side extend a decent recent away record, although last week’s 3-0 home defeat by Sligo may leave them a little raw.
The Scot insists, however, his team is progressing and that if he can get his best side out on the pitch then people will start to appreciate their potential.
“If our strongest 11 is there, man for man, I wouldn’t swap them for any team in the league,” he says, although there’s no sign of him actually getting them all fit and available,with Craig Curran and Michael Leahy back in contention for this evening but Danny Galbraith and Shaun Kelly out.
Bohemians, meanwhile, are boosted by the return of Dinny Corcoran for the visit of Derry City, while Drogheda United will be without Eric Foley or longer term absentee, goalkeeper Michael Schlingermann, as they try to tighten things up at the back and halt their recent slide when they travel to Belfield to face UCD.