For the second time this week, bottom-of-the-table UCD take on league leaders Dundalk in the SSE Airtricity League, this time meeting at the UCD Bowl in Belfield on Friday night (kick-off 7.45pm).
The Students will need to be a lot cleverer than they were at Oriel Park last Monday if they are to record what would be a first win over Dundalk in six years and end their five-game losing streak.
In what was his first league match in charge, Maciej Tarnogrodzki saw his new side easily beaten 3-0 by the champions-elect following a brace from Michael Duffy along with Patrick’s Hoban’s strike.
UCD have conceded a leaky total of 25 goals in their last five league outings and are currently ten points adrift of guaranteed Premier Division safety, so another fixture against the Lilywhites is probably the last thing Tarnogrodzki’s troops needed at this present moment in time.
For this fixture however, they are boosted by the return of their first-choice goalkeeper Conor Kearns, who didn’t play in any of those five matches for he was serving a lengthy suspension.
They will be without midfielder Jack Keaney, who will now serve a one-match suspension having played in the reverse fixture on Monday night, while Paul Doyle and Evan Osam are both out injured.
Josh Collins and Sean McDonald, who are both carrying injuries, are also severe doubts for this one.
Having extended their unbeaten run in the SSE Airtricity League to 18 matches on Monday night, Dundalk are now just six wins away from mathematically securing a fifth league title in six years.
Head coach Vinny Perth will be anxious to wrap up the league championship as soon as possible, but faces an arduous schedule which will likely see the Lilywhites play seven matches in September.
Next up for Dundalk is a second fixture in quick succession against UCD, who are rooted at the foot of the table – it represents Dundalk’s eighth competitive match of what has been a busy August.
Dundalk are boosted by the return of Chris Shields, who missed Monday night’s reverse fixture through suspension, while Robbie Benson returned to the substitutes bench in that 3-0 win.
John Mountney picked up an ankle injury in the early stages of that match and is Dundalk’s only definite absentee, while Andy Boyle will undergo a late fitness test ahead of kick-off on Friday.
Referee: Ray Matthews.
UCD haven’t beaten Dundalk since winning 3-2 at Oriel Park in 2013 thanks to a David McMillan brace and a goal from Robbie Benson, both of whom of course would later play for the Lilywhites.
The Students’ last victory over Dundalk at the UCD Bowl came towards the end of the 2011 season when goals from David O’Connor, Paul O’Conor and Chris Lyons saw them thrash the Lilywhites 3-0.
Dundalk’s trio of Andy Boyle, Robbie Benson and Georgie Kelly have all previously played for UCD, whose new recruit up front Sam Byrne made two appearances for Dundalk during the 2018 season.
UCD 18/1; Draw 13/2; Dundalk 1/9.
UCD 0-2 Dundalk
Injured: Paul Doyle, Evan Osam.
Doubtful: Josh Collins, Sean McDonald.
Suspended: Jack Keaney.
Injured: John Mountney.
Doubtful: Andy Boyle.
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