- Thursday September 21st, 2023 @ 12:30
Match Preview: Saints V Dundalk (22/09/23)
The Saints make their long-awaited return to Richmond Park for the first time in 42 days when they take on Dundalk this Friday evening in front of the Virgin Media TV cameras in another crucial Premier Division match.
Kick-off on Friday is at the usual time of 7.45pm with a limited number of home tickets still available
The match will also be available to watch on Virgin Media 2 on Friday evening and the VM Player, those outside Ireland can watch on LOITV.
St Pat's come into this game following a 2-1 away win up in Ballybofey, that victory against Finn Harps secured a date in the FAI Cup semi-final against Cork City.
Chris Forrester's penalty and a late Tommy Lonergan stunner were enough to ensure the club progressed to their 30th FAI Cup semi-final.
The FAI Cup semi-final will take place in Turner's Cross on Sunday, the 8th of October. The game will be broadcast live on RTE and will kick off at 2.40pm. Once we have away ticket information we will share it across our social media platforms and share it with Season Ticket Holders and Patron Saints.
For now though, the focus is on the league with three games in a week. St Pa''s remain in 3rd place in the league table, four points adrift of Derry City in 2nd place, and eight behind leaders Shamrock Rovers, with one game in hand on the sides above them.
St Pat's have had an excellent domestic record in recent months, with eleven wins, three draws and just two losses in their last 16 games.
The last time fans poured into the stands at Richmond Park was for the 0-0 draw with Bohemians on August 11th, so the highly anticipated return of Jon Daly's men to a packed home crowd is an exciting prospect.
OPPOSITION WATCH & RECENT MEETINGS
Dundalk currently sit in 6th place in the Premier Division, with 43 points from the 29 games they have played.
Their last game was an away trip to Galway United in the FAI Cup last Friday evening. This ended in a 4-0 defeat for the Louth side as they exited the Cup at the quarter-final stage.
The last time that Stephen O'Donnell met his old club was in June, as the sides played out a 1-1 draw at Oriel Park.
Conor Carty put the Saints 1-0 up in the first half before Daniel Kelly got an 84th minute equaliser to salvage a point for Dundalk.
Dundalk's only visit to Richmond Park this season was in May and it ended in a hard-fought home victory.
Mark Doyle put the home side 1-0 to the good, before Rayhaan Tulloch pulled one back for Dundalk. Conor Carty, once again, scored to ensure the ten men Saints took all three points.
The first meeting between the sides this year was a 5-0 win for Dundalk at Oriel Park in March. Patrick Hoban, Louie Annesley, Rayhaan Tulloch, Daniel Kelly and Connor Malley scored the goals.
JON DALY: "There's a lot of exciting games coming up!"
Manager Jon Daly knows the significance of the final push in the league and the cup going into the last few weeks of the season but is keen to reiterate that he is taking it one game at a time:
"There is loads of football to be played but being brutally honest, I'm not looking beyond Dundalk. We watched the FAI Cup draw and then that was it, we put it to bed, and focus is now fully on Dundalk. We're trying to prepare properly for that and give ourselves the best possible chance of getting three points.
There is a lot of football coming, a lot of excitement and meaningful games that will hopefully put us in the positions that we want to be in. When you come to the business end of the season, you want to be in the hunt for things.
Our home form has been very good and that's obviously down to the fans as well. The way they support the group will be something we hope to use on Friday. It's up to us to give them something to get behind. We're very much looking forward to getting back out there and trying to get three points."
JAY McCLELLAND: "It's the business end of the season, we have to be ready for big games!"
St Pat's winger Jay McClelland has scored four goals in 17 Premier Division apps this season, the 26-year-old will be hoping to add to his tally this Friday:
"We're looking forward to the game. This is the business end of the season, we have to be ready for big games. This is where people make their name, so we need everyone to show up to pick up wins.
As a quarter-final of the Cup comes, it was a tough game facing Finn Harps, it was a difficult game but at the end of the day we're into a Cup semi-final.
In terms of the draw against Cork in the semis, it doesn't really matter who you get. Anyone in the semi-final of the Cup is going to be a tough game. We can look forward to that in a couple of weeks, but our main focus now is on the league, and that starts on Friday against Dundalk.
This Friday is massive. It's our biggest game of the season so far. We need to show up because Dundalk certainly will after their result the other day in Galway. Our last game against them was a tough battle. The fans are massive for us, and the game is going to be packed out which is great."
Tom Grivosti (knee) is out. Jay McGrath is suspended having been sent off in our last league game against Shelbourne. Sam Curtis served a one match ban for the FAI Cup win over Finn Harps and is available for selection.
A limited number of home tickets still available
The match will also be available to watch on Virgin Media Television on Friday evening and the VM Player, those outside Ireland can watch on LOITV.
As always, updates and live match chat can be found on the Official St Pat's FC App - available now on both the App Store and Play Store.
Updates will also be available across all the club's social media channels.
Image credit: Inpho Sports