# in pursuit
'I believe we'll catch them' - Dundalk defender defiant in title race
Dane Massey remains optimistic in spite of Cork City’s 15-point lead at the top of the table.

DESPITE TRAILING THEIR rivals by 15 points ahead of tonight’s top-of-the-table clash at Oriel Park, Dundalk’s Dane Massey believes they can deliver a big blow to Cork City’s title aspirations by ending their undefeated run.

Having finished second to Dundalk in each of the last three seasons, City are on course to end their 12-year wait for a top-flight title after dropping just two points from their 16 games so far in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division this season.

Dane Massey celebrates after the game James Crombie / INPHO Dane Massey celebrates after Dundalk's victory over Cork City at Oriel Park last October. James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

However, Massey is adamant that the title race is far from over. Dundalk, who began the season intent on winning their fourth consecutive title, have allowed a sizeable gap to open up between themselves and the Leesiders.

But starting with tonight’s televised fixture at Oriel Park [RTÉ 2, 7.30pm], the Lilywhites’ left-back is keen to put some doubts in the minds of the league leaders by forcing them to reflect on their first defeat of 2017 over the course of the two-week break.

He told The42: “Cork have had an unbelievable start to the season. You have to give them credit for that. But they haven’t lost yet this season and there is a break coming up after this, so there can be a tiny bit of doubt creeping in after a loss.

“They haven’t been in this position before either, being at the top of the table. It’s a different kind of pressure when you’re being chased instead of chasing someone else. If we beat them here we’ll see how they handle it and see what position we can get ourselves in.

“There’s still a lot of games to come in the cup and in Europe which can have an effect on how things go in the league. There’s still a long, long way to go in the season. If we do beat them it will be a big blow to them, especially mentally.”

Having kept four consecutive clean sheets, Dundalk have taken 10 points from a possible 12 since their defeat to Shamrock Rovers. The run has helped to rebuild the confidence of Stephen Kenny’s side, who fell to five losses in their opening 12 league games this season.

Dane Massey with Aleksandr Anyukov and Aleksandr Kokorin Ryan Byrne / INPHO Massey in possession during Dundalk's Europa League clash with Zenit Saint Petersburg at Tallaght Stadium. Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

“The main thing for us is to keep going on this run we’re on, keep winning and looking after ourselves, because we know that Cork will more than likely have a sticky patch,” Massey said. “If we look after our own end and make sure we avoid the same thing happening to us, hopefully we can get close enough to them to put enough pressure on.

“Some of the results so far have been frustrating but it has made us even hungrier as a squad to go on and do well now, especially because people are saying the league is over and the four-in-a-row is gone.”

He added: “I still believe that we have the quality there to go on and win a league. I believe we’ll catch them and once the European games and the cup games start building up, I think then you’ll start to see the gap closing. We’ll have to see then how Cork handle the pressure going into the final stages of the season.”

If Dundalk are to catch John Caulfield’s side, however, Massey accepts that nothing less than a victory will suffice tonight.

“To go 18 points behind heading into the break would leave us with a mountain to climb. If we beat them it brings it down to 12 and then we definitely have a chance. It’s a must-win game for Dundalk, definitely,” said the 29-year-old Dubliner.


Every week, we’re giving readers the chance to take us on in predicting the Premier Division results. After Week 16, here are the standings:

The Readers: 46
The42: 44

Next up is Shane O’Connor from Cork…

Dundalk v Cork City – Cork City win
Bohemians v Drogheda United – Bohemians win
Derry City v Galway United – Derry City win
Limerick v Bray Wanderers – Draw
Sligo Rovers v Finn Harps – Finn Harps win
Shamrock Rovers v St. Patrick’s Athletic – Shamrock Rovers win

The42 (Paul Dollery)

Dundalk v Cork City – Draw
Bohemians v Drogheda United – Bohemians win
Derry City v Galway United – Derry City win
Limerick v Bray Wanderers – Bray Wanderers win
Sligo Rovers v Finn Harps – Sligo Rovers win
Shamrock Rovers v St. Patrick’s Athletic – Draw

If you’d like to try your hand at forecasting League of Ireland results, get in touch by e-mailing

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