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Airtricity League

Preview: Dundalk rallying cry for play-off decider

Dundalk host an in-form Waterford United side in the first of two win-or-bust meetings tonight.

DUNDALK’S NEW OWNERS have issued a rallying cry for Lilywhites fans to pack out Oriel Park and be the “12th man” in tonight’s promotion/relegation play-off first leg.

At the end of a season in which they came perilously close to going out of business, Dundalk host Waterford United in the most important game in the club’s recent history (kick-off 7.45pm).

A local consortium and the Dundalk FC Community Trust have agreed terms to take over ownership at the end of the season, and ahead of the first of two win-or-bust meetings with Paul O’Brien’s form side, they called on supporters to make their voices heard.

“We’ve to look to the future of this football club and at the end of the day, we’ve two massive games,” consortium spokesman Ciaran Bond told LMFM Radio.

We’re appealing to the people of Dundalk to come out on Tuesday night. Be our 12th man. Get behind the team.

Waterford are on a high following their 3-1 aggregate win against Longford Town in the First Division promotion play-off, but Dundalk received a boost of their own when they beat Bray Wanderers 2-1 in the final round of matches.

Manager Darius Kierans expects to have midfielder John Mountney fit again following appendix surgery and Stephen Maher returns from suspension.

But Kierans looks likely to be without top scorer Gary Shanahan, who is still recovering from an ankle injury, while Derek Foran and Déise native Paul Walsh (both groin) are also doubts.

The Louthmen won two-legged deciders between the teams in 1997 and again in 2006, but with PFAI Young Player of the Year nominee Seanie Maguire leading the line, the Blues will fancy themselves to make it third time lucky.

“This club wants to be a Premier League club and the time is right to fulfill that ambition,” O’Brien said.

Waterford will be without Seamus Long and John Frost, who are both suspended, while Stephen Mulcahy is a doubt with a hamstring injury.

‘The 2008 final was heartbreaking. Hopefully this one doesn’t go to penalties’ – Ger Doherty