Between the Stripes LOI podcast host & LOI TV commentator Kieran Burke previews Friday night’s live game from the #GreatestLeagueInTheWorld.
Shelbourne v Dundalk, 7.45, RTE2
Currently on a five match winless run in all competitions, Dundalk find themselves third from bottom in the League of Ireland Premier Division standings ahead of a potentially troublesome trip to Tolka Park on Friday night. The Lilywhites are yet to fully convince this season and while their second half display at home to Derry City last Sunday was slightly more encouraging, it’s fair to say the fear factor teams used to have when going up against Dundalk is gone.
This looks to be a rather average Dundalk side who certainly aren’t being helped by injuries, the poor quality of the Oriel Park pitch and ongoing rumours regarding outside investment in the football club.
Shelbourne are likely to have very little sympathy for the visitors who beat the Dublin club in a heated affair at Oriel Park earlier in the season. Since that game at the start of March, Shels have earned a revenge of sorts by hammering Dundalk 4-0 in the Leinster Senior cup but what will be more pleasing to Reds boss Damien Duff is the fact his side have lost just one of their last seven in all competitions (0-1 v Derry City).
Goals have been a problem for Duff’s men with Shelbourne scoring only 8 goals in 10 matches but having scored half of that tally in their last two games Duff will be hoping this is the start of his team turning a corner in front of goal. Matty Smith has struggled for early season form but after a dressing down from his boss recently, Smith has been sensational for Shelbourne in past matches.
The lack of an out and out goalscorer in the absence of the stricken Sean Boyd will remain a concern for Duff and co until the summer transfer window opens but they’ve shown enough in recent matches to suggest they can get at the lackluster Lilywhites.
VERDICT: Shelbourne (5/4)
DUNDALK: Further questions regarding Oriel Park’s controversial synthetic surface were raised on Sunday when Andy Boyle was ruled out during the warm up while Wasiri Williams correctly saw red after a horrendous challenge on a Derry City player. Boyle’s status remains unknown for the trip to Tolka Park but Williams will miss out via suspension.
Dundalk’s injury woes were further compounded on Sunday when Greg Sloggett was seen exiting Oriel Park on crutches after being forced off through injury during the game. Dundalk Head Coach Stephen O’Donnell has since given an update on the midfielder and while the initial prognoses appears to be less severe than first thought, Sloggett will miss Friday’s game.
Cameron Elliott, Daniel Kelly, Louie Annesley and John Mountney are all also ruled out with injuries.
SHELBOURNE: No team news at time of publishing.
BEST BET: Jack Moylan anytime goalscorer (10/3)
While Moylan has scored just one goal in ten Premier Division matches this season the former Bohemians and Wexford midfielder is the key creative spark in this Shels team. If he can add more goals to his game in the coming years under the stewardship of Irish legend Damien Duff then the 21-year-old could go on to be one of the stars of the league.
Dundalk appear to really be struggling in the centre of the park and Moylan certainly has the quality to find those voids and hurt the Louth men.