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Dublin: 9 °C Saturday 20 October, 2018
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'If Bohs can do us a favour tonight, great - but we know what we have to do'

Dane Massey and Dundalk are still taking the Premier Division title race one game at a time.

Image: Matt Browne/SPORTSFILE

DUNDALK DEFENDER DANE Massey hopes to provide the spark to ignite Dundalk’s title challenge – with the Louth side sitting on the cusp of a first league title in 19 years.

The left back was yesterday named the SSE Airtricity/SWAI Player of the Month for September after his brace of goals helped Dundalk to beat Shamrock Rovers in the EA Sports Cup final last month. That double came a week after a stunning free kick in a 5-0 rout of Derry City in the league.

The Lilywhites stand on the verge of a league and cup double should they clinch the Premier Division title over the next week. Standing in their way are Bray Wanderers and Cork City, the team Dundalk have been battling it out with at the top of the division virtually all season.

Stephen Kenny’s men sit one point above the Leesiders going into tonight’s penultimate round. Depending on Cork’s result at Turners Cross, a win tonight could see Dundalk crowned champions. Should they both match eachothers results against Bray and Bohemians tonight, the league will be decided when the two teams clash at Oriel Park on the final day.

“We know what we have to do. All we can do is concentrate on the next fixture – which is Bray – and not worry about anyone else,” Massey told TheScore.ie.

“We’ve known it could come down to the last day for a long time because it’s been so tight. That fixture has always been there but our approach has always been to win the next one and see where that takes us.

“I’m not surprised Cork are still in with a shout. They have such a strong backline. With players like Dan Murray, that’s no surprise.

All we can do is win our own games and not look too far ahead. If Bohs can do us a favour, great. But we know what we have to do. If it goes down to the last day at Oriel, we’ll take that. It’s in our hands.

Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Massey is the third Dundalk player to pick up the Player of the Month award this season after Daryl Horgan and Richie Towell were voted the league’s best in previous months. His three goals in September have gone a long way towards securing the award but Massey has been a key component in the league’s joint-best defence too.

The goals attracted lots of attention but the Dubliner has been an ever present for Stephen Kenny’s side in this campaign, starting every game in the League, FAI Cup, Setanta Sports Cup, Leinster Senior Cup and Europa League.

Massey, who balances training and matchday commitments with Dundalk with working a few mornings a week as an electrician in Jervis Street Shopping Centre, was rested throughout Dundalk’s EA Sports Cup campaign before he scored twice in his first appearance of the season – in the final. It was a justified selection.

“I’m very pleased that the manager sees me as the number one left back,” he says. “I missed all of the previous rounds in the cup but then came in for the final. The goal was great to get.

“Manny (Kaguako) played in the early rounds and it was hard for him. He did very well. It was important for him to be involved on the day of the final and we all made sure he was. It was the same with all the young lads, the likes of Georgie Poynton too. They’re all good young players and contributed to us reaching the final.”

Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

The full back has linked up with Horgan down the Lilywhites’ left side to devastating effect this year.

Daryl and I have a great partnership down the left hand side. We link up well. He’s great and with us having to play Cork on the last day, it could end up that he’s a matchwinner against one of his former clubs. We know what can happen when players play against their old clubs.

Depending on what happens elsewhere, the title could be sealed tonight at the Carlisle Grounds where Massey spent five seasons at Bray. Short of clinching the title on the Carrick Road, this is the next best thing for him. The Seagulls go into the final two games of the season five points clear of UCD in the relegation play-off position. Only a remarkable turnaround would see Bray drop into the bottom two.

However, Massey knows that won’t make Dundalk’s task any easier. “I know a lot of the lads at Bray – like Adam Mitchell and Dave Webster. They will give their all and be really professional. If they were still in the relegation zone, it would be the same story for me.

“The fans have been unbelievable ever since I arrived, not just this season. We want to win the league for them. They deserve it.”

The title could be won and four other reasons to watch the League of Ireland this weekend

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