Cork City visit resurgent Dundalk side in top of the table clash
Stephen Kenny has eye on place in Europe rather than reining in runaway leaders
Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny: “We’ve been in good form recently, we’ve played well, and hopefully we can take that into the game against Cork City.” Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
Fifteen points behind they may be, the champions nonetheless bring their best form of the season into the match, unbeaten in four games with nine goals scored and none conceded.
That said, manager Stephen Kenny has spoken only of the need for his side to consolidate their challenge for Europe.
“It’s our ambition to cement our place in the European spots.” said Kenny who has been pleased with the level of performance and creativity his side has shown during their good recent run.
“There are four or five clubs at the moment challenging for those European places. We’ve to earn the right to get into European competition like we have before.
“We’ve been in good form recently, we’ve played well, and hopefully we can take that into the game against Cork City,” added Kenny who hopes to have midfielders John Mountney and Steven Kinsella back fit to give him a full squad to choose from.
Cork travel up undaunted as they defend their remarkable unbeaten run that has seen them drop just two points from 16 games to date. They’ve also shown tenacity in their two most recent games by coming from behind to win.
Sean Maguire, the league’s leading scorer, is reportedly fit despite a gash on his leg from last week’s win over Shamrock Rovers, though defender Alan Bennett and midfielders Garry Buckley and Steven Beattie, despite training this week, are slight doubts.
With their big cushion, Cork manager John Caulfield says Friday night’s result won’t define their season.
“Every game is a big game for us these days, but we’ve to keep taking it week by week,” said Caulfield “Our focus has been really good this week. We all know that Dundalk will be a difficult game and we need to be right.
“We’re really looking forward to it. The run we are on has been superb, but it’s all behind us now.
“We’ll go into this game full of confidence and know we’ll need to be on top of our game and give an outstanding performance. Our total focus is to go there and get three points.”
Meanwhile, ahead of facing St Patrick’s Athletic in the Dublin derby at Tallaght Stadium on Friday night, Shamrock Rovers announced that they will play Celtic in a pre-season friendly at the same venue on July 8th.