The Lilywhites and the Saints go toe to toe this weekend in Oriel Park with a place in the 92nd FAI Cup Final on November 4th on offer.
While the game sees the Premier Division's bottom side host the league's second placed team, previous results between the two sides suggest the game will be a tight affair.
The Saints may have recorded two away victories against the Lilywhites earlier this year, winning 2-0 in March and 1-0 thanks a solitary Sean O'Connor strike in August, however 10 men Dundalk were the first side this year to defeat the Saints in Richmond Park following their 2-1 win in May.
The Saints away record against Dundalk is encouraging having not tasted defeat in Oriel Park since 1998, however Dundalk can boast the title of being the most successful side against the Saints in the FAI Cup having eliminated the Inchicore side on 9 separate occasions.
Saints' manager Liam Buckley has had mixed fortunes in the FAI Cup having been part of the Pats squad to have lost to Shelbourne 2-1 in the 1996 FAI Cup Final Replay, while he experienced managerial success in the competition with Sporting Fingal in 2009.
Ahead of this weekend's semi-final, the Saints' manager told stpatsfc.com that the players were in good spirits ahead of the game having recorded an impressive 5-0 victory last Monday night against UCD.
“Training has gone well this week since Monday's win and all the lads are pushing for a place in the starting line-up against a Dundalk team that will give us a tough game.”
“Cup semi-finals have a lot at stake, so we'll being going out there to apply ourselves as best we can and hopefully get the result. Darius Kierans will have them well prepared as well so we know we'll be up against it on Sunday,” Buckley commented.
In team news, Saints' midfielder Ryan Coombes misses out having been called up to the Ireland U19 squad ahead of their Uefa U19 Championship qualifiers in Luxembourg next week, while Mark Rossiter misses out with a knee injury.
The squads' ranks have been boosted though by the return of Conor Kenna, John Russell, Hernany Macedo and Sean O'Connor to training having picked up knocks recently. Greg Bolger, Pat Flynn and James Chambers also come into contention having completed their respective one match bans.
For Saints' midfielder Chambers, the experience of playing in the Aviva Stadium on FAI Cup Final day is something is he all too familiar with having played for Shamrock Rovers in the 2010 final, a game they lost on penalties to Sligo Rovers. However as the 25 year old revealed to stpatsfc.com, the squad are solely focused on Dundalk this Sunday.
“Since we got back into training from the win against UCD on Monday, everyone has been really looking forward to the game. It's good that we can point the league to one side, and focus on this game. Dundalk may have had a few bad results recently, but we know they will be really up for it and it will be extremely difficult on Sunday.”
“They gave us a tough game the last time we were up there, and they beat us in Richmond a while back too. However getting to the Aviva would be great, you don't get too many chances to play in your national stadium so we'll be really motivated to get the job done and get to the final.”
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