Dundalk will be hoping to make it six in-a-row when they face neighbours Drogheda Utd in the annual Jim Malone Cup match at United Park this Saturday (kick-off 1pm).
Amazingly, the Lilywhites had won the annual local friendly between the two Co Louth sides just twice since its inception in 1997 in 2000 and 2010 before starting the current sequence of wins with a 2-0 win at Oriel Park in February 2015 courtesy of goals from Andy Boyle and Ciaran O’Connor.
They then retained the trophy in honour of the late Dundalk chairman Jim Malone, who passed away in October 1996, for the first time 12 months later with another 2-0 win at United Park thanks to goals in either half from Ciaran Kilduff.
While the game wasn’t played in 2017, Dundalk made it three, four and five wins in-a-row respectively with a 3-1 win in 2018, a 5-1 win a year later and a 2-0 win at the start of last season courtesy of a rare headed goal from Jordan Flores before Georgie Kelly made sure of the win with a second 10 minutes from the end.
Drogheda’s last win came courtesy of penalties at United Park in 2014. It looked like Gavin Brennan’s 21st minute strike would give the Boynesiders the win until Patrick Hoban popped up with a 92nd minute equaliser. However, for the eighth time in the competition’s history Drogheda would prevail in a shoot-out, winning 5-4 after Daryl Horgan’s spot kick was saved by Micheal Schlingermann.
Saturday’s game, which is expected to be streamed by Drogheda Utd, will be the 21st match in the competition between the Co Louth rivals with the current record reading Drogheda 13, Dundalk 7.
This year’s match between Filippo Giovagnoli and Tim Clancy’s sides is expected to be keenly contested following Drogheda’s promotion back to the Premier Division last season.
Amongst the former Dundalk players in the Drogheda Utd squad are goalkeeper David Odumosu, forward Ronan Murray and full back Dane Massey who departed Oriel Park in January after eight seasons and 15 trophy wins. Indeed, it was the 32-year-old who lifted the trophy for Dundalk in the corresponding fixture last year.
Massey, who was sidelined with a hip injury after scoring in Giovagnoli’s first game in charge away to Cobh Ramblers last August, has yet to feature for his new employers due to a calf problem so could be in line for a debut against the side where he earned legendary status in his old number 14 shirt.