McCaffrey recalls McLaughlin to Dundalk squad

Dundalk FC manager Seán McCaffrey will recall Ben McLaughlin to the squad for the clash with Shamrock Rovers at Tallaght Stadium on Friday night (kick-off 8pm).

Having impressed in four straight senior starts since making his debut on 19 March, the defender, who turns 17 on Sunday, was rested for the EA SPORTS Cup win over Longford Town at Flancare Park on Tuesday.

Dundalk secured their place in the quarter-finals thanks to a double from Gary Shanahan, who was starting for the first time in six games, as they recovered from Seán Skelly’s third-minute goal to win 2-1.

Shanahan was one of five changes made to the team that drew 0-0 with Shelbourne at Oriel Park last weekend.

For the trip to the capital, Dundalk will be without Nathan Murphy (toe) and Mark Griffin (groin).

Eoghan Osborne was on the bench on Tuesday as he nears a return after over a year off following a fractured tibia. However, the game came too soon for the 20-year-old to play a part, and he is unlikely to be in the matchday squad on Friday.

Rovers go into the game on the back of a 5-1 defeat by Saint Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park, although they bounced back on Monday with a 2-0 win at Salthill Devon in the EA SPORTS Cup.

But Dundalk defender Liam Burns insists he is not concerned about a backlash from the Hoops.

“It’s never an easy place to go,” the 33-year-old said. “They have won the league twice on the bounce for a reason, and it’s going to be a very hard game.

“We have got to go there and concentrate on ourselves and what we do. I think we have got players up front who can maybe hurt them.

“They’re expected to win every game no matter who they’re playing. Even though they got beaten 5-1, I expect a very difficult game.

“Obviously, they will want to come out and make amends. But we have got to do what we do and have confidence in our ability that we’re going to go there and get a result.”

Dundalk will be chasing a first win at Tallaght Stadium since March 2010, when goals from Neale Fenn and Stephen Maher gave them a 2-0 victory. That was a season that saw Ian Foster’s side beat Rovers three times in four attempts.

However, last term, the Lilywhites were unsuccessful in five attempts against Rovers, drawing twice and losing thrice, including a defeat in the Setanta Sports Cup final in May.

On their last visit to Tallaght, in June, Dundalk lost a 2-0 lead in the final 11 minutes, as Chris Turner and Billy Dennehy netted late to cancel out Griffin’s brace as the game ended 2-2.

In the last encounter, at Oriel Park, in September, second-half goals from Dennehy and Stephen O’Donnell, from the spot, secured a 2-1 win for the Hoops, the hosts’ reply coming through an injury-time header from Mark Quigley.


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