Dundalk’s first President’s Cup win came against Shamrock Rovers almost 90 years ago while Rovers’ last win in the competition – which they have won a record 21 times to date – also came against the Lilywhites almost 34 years ago.
Filippo Giovagnoli’s FAI Cup winners will be hoping to lay down a marker for the new season against Stephen Bradley’s league champions this Friday night but it is a fixture that, historically at least, Rovers have had the better of.
You have to go back almost 90 years to the first meeting between the two rivals in the President’s Cup. The first came at the end of the 1930/31 season in May 1931 when the sides played out a 1-1 draw after John Joe Flood’s second half opener for the Hoops was cancelled out by Joey Donnelly.
Dundalk would go on to win their first President’s Cup against the Dublin outfit less than four months later in September at the start of the 1931/32 season when they ran out 7-3 winners at Dalymount Park courtesy of two goals apiece from Joe Cassidy, Joey Donnelly and Henry Hirst, with another from Gerry McCourt.
Rovers would win the next final 3-2 in August 1943 but Dundalk avenged that result in the November 1964 with a 4-2 win courtesy of goals from Billy Kennedy, Tom Kelledy, Ray Bushe and Jimmy Hasty.
Unfortunately that remains the Lilywhites’ last positive result in a President’s Cup final against Rovers who beat them 3-2 in August 1968, 4-3 in August 1969, 3-0 in August 1970 and 3-1 in August 1972.
They made it five President Cup wins in-a-row over Dundalk with a 3-2 win at the start of the 1986/87 campaign before also winning the last match between the pair at the start of the 87/88 season.
On that occasion in November 1987 a 0-0 draw in dreadful conditions at Oriel Park was followed by a 3-1 win for Rovers on penalties. John Cleary had opened the scoring for Dundalk before Gerry Hide equalised. Barry Kehoe then blazed over the next spot kick with subsequent efforts from Francie Callan Jr and Paul Newe saved by Jody Byrne ensuring Rovers claimed the victory after Mick Neville and Harry Kenny had scored for them.
The two sides were due to meet each other in last year’s final at Oriel Park but the game pencilled in for February 9th was postponed on safety grounds due to Storm Ciara.
This year’s final takes place in Tallaght Stadium on Friday night at 7.45pm and will be streamed free to air on the WATCHLOI service. Dundalk will be aiming for their 12th win in the competition on the night as they continue to prepare for their league opener away to Sligo Rovers on March 20th.