With the celebrations still in full swing around him at Oriel Park after Dundalk’s title-clinching 3-2 victory over Shamrock Rovers on Monday night, Vinny Perth took the opportunity to reveal that replicating Derry City’s unique 1989 treble was something he and his players had consciously set as a target at the start of this season.
This was a far more commanding victory for Dundalk than the narrow scoreline might suggest, as a Michael Duffy header capped an at times swaggering display from the champions to claim a big three points in defence of their title and bring Cork City’s recent resurgence to a shuddering halt.
One of the most impressive statistics in the Championship season and one that is unlikely to be repeated, was the fact that Carlow did not record a single wide in their Leinster quarter-final win over Kildare, their first over the Lilywhites since 1953.
With Cork City not in action until tomorrow when they play host to Limerick, Dundalk will travel to Waterford this evening looking to convert their superior goal difference into a clear points advantage at the top of the Premier Division table.
With Martin O’Neill’s position as Ireland manager moving closer to the brink than it’s ever been before over the last 48 hours, the question of who might succeed him — whether that’s sooner or later — has gained fresh momentum.
If Cork City’s Kevin O’Connor needs any extra incentive to give his all in Sunday’s FAI Cup final sequel against Dundalk, he only has to think back to Aviva Stadium last year and the moment when he knew the dream was over for 2016.
After last Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Oriel Park saw Dundalk retain their six-point advantage over Cork City, the top two in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division resume their title contest this evening, with the Lilywhites away to Bray Wanderers and the Rebels at home to Bohemians.