Vinny Perth’s Lilywhites will be looking to put the ghost of November’s past behind them on Sunday afternoon as they host FAI Cup holders Shamrock Rovers at Oriel Park (kick-off at 3pm).
The Lilywhites were denied a historic treble against the Hoops in November, with Stephen Bradley’s side ending a 32-year famine.
And after a winter of relative calm at the Co. Louth venue – in terms of player incomings and outgoings at least – Dundalk will look to make amends for their November defeat in the 2020 Presidents Cup final.
“We have been tested in pre-season a couple of times and I am delighted with where we are at,” Dundalk boss Vinny Perth told his club’s media team.
“We had two good nights last week (against Crusaders and Longford Town) and when you link them all together it has been great for us.
“Tomorrow is an exciting game and ultimately it is the first night of the season next week against Derry City that is important but it’s a good game to have against Shamrock Rovers.
“It is going to be competitive, both teams will go after it and it looks like both of us have had a good pre-season.
“We are in a good position to start the season and everything, within reason, has gone according to plan.
“I am very happy with the squad and the fitness levels.”
In terms of team news for Dundalk, John Mountney will miss out with an ankle injury, while Patrick McEleney, Sean Murray and Darragh Leahy are all rated as doubts.
Searching for their first win at Oriel Park since 2018 – Shamrock Rovers will be looking to make their statement of intent ahead of the 2020 League of Ireland Premier Division season.
The Hoops have been busy during the off-season, with the likes of Liam Scales and Rhys Marshall both joining the club from UCD and Glenavon respectively.
“I think it's great for us before the season starts to have a tough game,” Hoops Head Coach Stephen Bradley told RTÉ Sport.
“In the last few seasons we've tried to have our last game of pre-season be a good one and tomorrow definitely helps us to get ready for next week," he said.
“The Presidents Cup is a great game to have, the players have earned the right to be here [by winning the FAI Cup] and it's only the start for this group.
“You want to win every game, but our focus is on next week and the start of the league campaign. It's part of our pre-season programme, we'll obviously go out and try and win the game, but our focus is next weekend.
“We've trained really hard and had some good games. We've had one or two knocks but overall our pre-season has been good,” he added.
And in terms of team news, Bradley said; “Sean Kavanagh is out long term. He's had the operation and he's fine, he's right down the road with his rehab so a few more months and we'll have Sean back.
“We'll leave out Jack [Byrne] tomorrow as well, he has a knock, so we won't take any chances with him with the league in mind next week.”
Referee: Damien MacGraith.
Shamrock Rovers have lost their previous two encounters against Dundalk at Oriel Park – with the most recent defeat at the Co. Loth venue handing the Lilywhites the 2019 Premier Division league title.
The most recent meeting between the two side’s saw Shamrock Rovers lift their 25th FAI Cup at the Aviva Stadium as Gary O’Neill stroked home the deciding spot-kick to send the FAI Cup back to the Hoops.
The 2019 Presidents Cup saw Vinny Perth claim his first trophy as Dundalk manager with a 2-1 win over Cork City at Turners Cross.
Dundalk 11/10; Draw 2/1; Shamrock Rovers 9/4.
Dundalk 1 - 2 Shamrock Rovers
Injured: John Mountney.
Doubtful: Darragh Leahy, Patrick McEleney, Sean Murray.
Injured: Sean Kavanagh.
Doubtful: Jack Byrne.