With Cork City not in action until they play Bray Wanderers away tomorrow, tonight’s SSE Airtricity League Premier Division games present an opportunity for Dundalk to stretch their lead at the top and for Derry City to leapfrog Cork into second place - at least for 24 hours.
In front of the Setanta Sports cameras (kick-off 8pm), champions Dundalk are at home to a Galway United side who, were they to prevail at Oriel Park, would themselves draw level on points with Cork, testament to the fine season the Tribesmen are having under Tommy Dunne as they prepare for their final match of the opening series of league games.
“Everybody knows that travelling to Oriel Park is a tough task and it’s always difficult to pick up points there,” says the Galway manager. “Derry City and Cork City have gotten results there this season, and we feel if we play to our potential, we can pick up a result also. It’s a tough game, but we’re looking forward to the challenge.
“We were disappointed with our performance levels in our last two games against Longford and Limerick. Make no mistake about it: if you don’t perform, you’re not going to get anything from Oriel Park.
“But it’s set up to be a good game. We’re hoping we can be extremely competitive and there’s an added incentive, when you’re on TV, your family, friends and supporters are watching you play and you want to give a good account of yourself. You’re representing your club and county and you want to do well.”
Stephen Folan (back) and Padraic Cunningham (knee) are unavailable for Galway while there are also injury doubts over skipper Ryan Connolly and Kevin Devaney. But the league’s leading scorer Vinny Faherty is available and long-term injury absentee Armin Aganovic is also back in contention.
Dundalk will once again be without Stephen O’Donnell, Patrick McEleney, Ciaran Kilduff and Ciaran O’Connor but, four points clear at the top, Stephen Kenny’s side continue to make light of their injury setbacks.
“From our point of view we have had two very good wins in Dublin in the past couple of weeks against Shamrock Rovers and Bohemians at Tallaght Stadium and Dalymount Park,” says the manager.
“The motivation now is to continue that good form back at home to Galway United who have had a good start to the season.”
In tonight’s other Premier Division games, St Patrick’s Athletic are at home to Derry City in Richmond Park where a win for the visitors would put them back up into second place while up in Ballybofey, Finn Harps host Bohemians (8pm).
In the First Division, meanwhile, Athlone Town welcome Drogheda United to the Athlone Town Stadium and Waterford United entertain UCD at the RSC.
Tonight’s matches kick off at 7.45pm unless otherwise indicated.
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