Dundalk will receive the SSE Airtricity League trophy at the end of what is their final home game of the league season against European-chasing St Patrick’s Athletic on Friday night (kick-off 7.45pm).
The Lilywhites had already secured a fifth title in six years last month thanks to a 3-2 win over second-placed Shamrock Rovers at Oriel Park and Dundalk head coach Vinny Perth has called on his support to get behind his side and help them finish the season on a high after two defeats in a row.
“We want as many people as possible to come and support us tomorrow against St. Patrick’s Athletic. We can’t take days like tomorrow for granted,” Perth told the club’s official website.
“This is a special occasion. The players deserve it to be a special occasion. I want everyone to experience the players lifting the trophy as much as possible. We never know when our next league title will be so we must enjoy this one.
“We are urging parents to bring their children to the trophy presentation and I want all the parents of the town bring the kids to the game. We want the children of Dundalk to aspire to be like the players lifting the trophy on the pitch.
“The current players are their heroes and I want as many people as possible there. If there is training on, call it off. This is better than any training session and any game that they will play.
“Turn up and support your local team, they need to aspire to being on the pitch wearing the white jersey of Dundalk and lifting league titles because that’s what it’s all about in Ireland.”
Dundalk have no injury concerns ahead of what is their last final league game of the 2019 campaign.
ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC
Coming into their final match of the league season, St Pats still have a slight chance of leapfrogging Derry City into fourth-place which would secure their qualification for next season’s Europa League.
A win for St Pats over champions Dundalk coupled with Derry losing to Finn Harps would see Stephen O’Donnell’s side qualify for Europe in what would be the most unlikely of circumstances.
Last week’s 3-1 win in Derry kept their faint European hopes alive heading into the last league game.
“It was a good win during the week. I thought we played well in the first half, but then we went 1-0 down. All credit to the players though, as they kept going and once they got the first, they pushed on from there and won the game well,” said O’Donnell.
“It is funny the way things have worked out that my first game in Oriel Park with St Pat's is the night Dundalk will be presented the league title. But I know I and the players will be fully focused on the game. The game is on television and it is a great opportunity for the players to show their skills and we want to pick up another win and finish the season with as many points as we can.”
Much like Dundalk, the Saints have no fresh injury concerns or suspensions heading into this match.
Referee: Graham Kelly.
Two successive defeats mean that Dundalk are now in danger of losing three league matches on the trot for the first time since the 2012 campaign, that is should they lose against St Patrick’s Athletic.
St Pats haven’t won in any of their last 10 league visits to Oriel Park. Their last win at the Louth venue also came in the 2012 season when Sean O’Connor scored the game’s only goal in a 1-0 win.
Of the current Dundalk squad – Gary Rogers, Sean Gannon, Sean Hoare and Jamie McGrath have all played for St Pats, with the Saints having Simon Madden and Conor Clifford as former Lilywhites.
Dundalk 4/7; Draw 3/1; St Patrick’s Athletic 9/2
Dundalk 1-1 St Patrick’s Athletic
St Patrick’s Athletic