- Friday April 16th, 2021 @ 12:55
Preview: Dundalk Vs Saints (17/04/21)
St Patrick's Athletic travel north to Oriel Park on Saturday to take on Dundalk in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division.
Kick-off is at 6pm.
It has been so far so good for the Saints, as they have enjoyed an unbeaten start to the season.
An opening night draw with Shamrock Rovers, followed by wins against Drogheda United, Bohemians and Derry City has left St Pat's with 10 points from a possible 12.
Last time out, goals from Robbie Benson and teenager Darragh Burns secured a 2-0 victory over a 10-man Derry City at Richmond Park. It was a first senior league goal for 18-year-old Saints Academy graduate Burns and a second clean sheet in a row for the team.
Opposition Watch and Recent Meetings
The sides met twice last year, both matches finished 1-1.
Remarkably, Patrick Hoban opened the scoring for Dundalk in both games before ex Dundalk man Robbie Benson equalised on both occasions.
The first of those meetings, last August, was the first game back after the enforced Covid-19 break.
The 2020 FAI Cup champions have lost their last three league games against Finn Harps, Shamrock Rovers and Bohemians after an opening weekend draw with Sligo Rovers.
Stephen O'Donnell's View
Head Coach Stephen 'Donnell will face his former club on Saturday.
O'Donnell won four league titles, two FAI Cups and two EA Sports Cups with Dundalk, he also captained the club during their 2016 Europa League group stage run and describes his six seasons as a player with Dundalk as "as massive part of my sporting life"
O'Donnell is a familiar face around Oriel Park and looking ahead to the game, he knows that the Saints will need to be at their very best to get a result on Saturday evening:
"Last season we drew both games, but that goes out the window come Saturday. If we had won, or lost both games, it doesn't really make much of a difference. It's a different Dundalk team and it's a different St Patrick's Athletic team now.
Dundalk are in a very false position at the moment, and that won't be the position they take up at the end of the season. They've such a big squad and so much quality, we are under no illusions at the league table so we will need to be at our very best to get anything out of the game."
John Mountney will return to Oriel park for the first time as a Saint to face his former club on Saturday.
Mountney spent nine seasons with Dundalk, winning 14 senior trophies and playing in the Europa League group stages twice.
John still lives in Dundalk is excited about making his first trip to Oriel Park as an opposition player:
"It's an exciting game alright. We've hit the ground running so we are going up there with a lot of confidence which is a big thing, and they've not had the start they wanted but they are a very good side with the squad they have and the players so it's going to be a very tough game.
There's been a lot of good battles over the years between the clubs. It'll be my first time going up there playing away but it's a challenge I'm looking forward to. Once the whistle goes, it's full focus and our minds will be on getting the result there.
That's the way we are going at things this year, it's going out to beat teams and to pick up as many points as we can so I don't think there will be any emotions involved in it for me".
Team-news: Shane Griffin has returned to training after a shoulder injury while Cian Kelly (foot) remains out.
Where can you watch the game: The game will be live on WATCHLOI, with kick off at 6pm on Saturday evening.
Updates: You can catch updates across all of our social media channels, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Podcast: Episode 4 of our Talking Saints podcast is available now on Youtube. Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Anchor and more. It features interviews with Darragh Burns, who scored his first senior league goal against Derry City last weekend. We caught up with John Mountney to hear his thoughts on returning to play against his former club. Eoin Norton talked about his experience as our representative in the eLOI competition while Dermot Looney from History St Pat's also informed us of some interesting facts, including our first ever cup win 80 years ago this week.
Photo credit: Darragh Connolly