Dundalk midfielder Chris Shields says the Lilywhites are determined to claim the inaugural Unite the Union Champions Cup and has praised the return of a cross-border competition.
SSE Airtricity League Champions Dundalk are set to face Danske Bank Premiership Champions Linfield at Windsor Park on Friday, November 8, before the return leg at Oriel Park on Monday, November 11.
Dundalk go into the two-legged final on the back of an Extra.ie FAI Cup defeat against Shamrock Rovers on Sunday but have the chance to claim more silverware this season after their SSE Airtricity League and EA SPORTS Cup victories.
“It’s great to see a return of the cross-border competition. I was always a big fan of the Setanta Sports Cup and the players love to play in it,” said Shields.
“It’s a great added rivalry to see who comes out top from both leagues. I think it’s a great initiative to bring something back like this and long may it continue.
“I can only speak from our dressing room but our lads are really looking forward to it and it’s definitely captured the supporters’ imagination as well. I’m sure we’ll be well backed heading up to Belfast and it gives us the chance to lift the trophy in our own ground as well, with the second leg back at Oriel.
“Linfield have done really well over the past year and I was up there when they beat Qarabag in the Europa League. They were brilliant that night and they did something we couldn’t do so it’s going to be a really tough game.”
The first leg is set to kick-off at 7.45pm at Windsor Park on Friday night and it’ll be live on Premier Sports. The second leg will take place at 7.05pm at Oriel Park on Monday night and it’ll be live on RTE 2.
The winners of the competition will receive €50,000 prize money whilst the runners-up will receive €25,000 and a further €25,000 has been distributed to various community projects.
The match officials for the Unite the Union Champions Cup Final between Dundalk and Linfield have been confirmed.
Unite the Union Champions Cup – Final
Friday, November 8
Linfield v Dundalk
Windsor Park, 7.45pm
Referee: Iain McNabb
Assistant 1: Stephen Bell
Assistant 2: Paul Robinson
Fourth Official: Tim Marshall
Monday, November 11
Dundalk v Linfield
Oriel Park, 7.05pm
Referee: Stephanie Frappart
Assistant 1: Manuela Nicolosi
Assistant 2: Michelle O’Neill
Fourth Official: Paula Brady