Following last weekend’s results the SSE Premier Division’s weekend finale is set for the most dramatic of showdowns when Dundalk welcome Cork City to Oriel Park in a title-deciding clash. Having secured a crucial 1-0 win over Bohemians at home, Cork City extended a fantastic run of ten games unbeaten that has seen them claim 26 points out of the last 30. With Dundalk faltering away to Bray by only claiming a draw in treacherously windy conditions, Cork now find themselves at the table’s summit.
Cork’s win put them on 72 points, 1 above their Lilywhite rivals. Despite that though, many feel that Dundalk’s fantastic home form this season will be too much for Cork City to contain, with many bookmakers making them the firm favourites for Friday’s clash. Cork manager John Caulfield has maintained throughout the campaign that his side are second favourites, but with such a fantastic run of form coming into this weekend there must be a buzz of excitement and confidence amongst the Cork City squad.
Similarly, while Dundalk have performed marvelously this season, form is not something that can be regained easily. Doubt plaguing a player’s mind can often be the deciding factor in deciding fixtures such as this, with Dundalk having fumbled at the Bray challenge just gone you can’t help but wonder if this may come into play.
However, we must not dispel the performances of the Louth men throughout this season. Assuming the gale force weather conditions of last Friday are not repeated we are expected to see the normal passing game that has typified Dundalk this season. This combined with the must win nature of the game for Dundalk is what, should nerves not get the better of them, make them justifiable favourites.
The plastic pitch in the Oriel grounds has been a much disguised factor to Dundalk’s form and Caulfield is taking it into consideration as he prepares his side, commenting that recovering players Ross Traynor and Gearoid Morrissey will probably not be risked due to the surface.
As you would expected a sell-out crowd awaits both sides, with an extra 750 tickets selling out within an hour for Friday’s showdown. A new stand holding 750 extra fans is being erected at the Dundalk ground to deal with the demand for tickets, bringing the capacity to nearly 4,500 strong. Which will undoubtedly create a cauldron of atmosphere which the occasion deserves.