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Dublin: 12°C Saturday 19 September 2020

The destination of the League of Ireland title could be decided tonight

Dundalk are on the brink of back-to-back titles and can seal the deal in Tallaght tonight.

Towell has been central to Dundalk's success.
Towell has been central to Dundalk's success.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

THEY’VE BEEN THE leading team in the country for the last three seasons and Dundalk can reinforce their standing as the SSE Airtricity League’s dominant force by clinching a second successive title tonight.

Such has been their supremacy over the course of the campaign, it’s been a question of when rather than if for Stephen Kenny’s side but it takes nothing away from the sense of occasion and achievement.

It just so happens that they can defend their crown and make club history in Tallaght against a Shamrock Rovers side chasing their shadow for much of the year.

Sealing the deal on opposition territory would be particularly sweet.

“I can’t wait for it,” Richie Towell said, as he was named the SSE Airtricity/Soccer Writers’ Association of Ireland Player of the Month for September, in Dublin yesterday.

“The last few games have been so exciting and I’ve been looking forward to them all and this will be no different. Especially because it’s on television as well, it makes it a bit more special.

“Hopefully we can just go out and play our own game and do the business.”

Towell has been central to Dundalk’s success. The 24-year-old has developed into the league’s outstanding talent and his imposing performances have been as frequent as they have been brilliant.

21 league goals in 29 outings is evidence of all his all-round contribution to a Dundalk outfit on the brink of becoming the first side in the club’s history to win back-to-back titles.

SSE Airtricity/SWAI Player of the Month Award for September 2015 Towell with his fourth player of the month award. Source: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE

“We don’t talk ourselves up,” Towell says of references to the league’s finest team of the modern era. “We just let our actions on the pitch do the talking but it’s great that people are comparing us. It’s a great honour.

“If it doesn’t happen tomorrow, we know we just need to refocus for Galway the following week.”

With four games remaining, the Lilywhites have margin for error but they’ll want to get over the line as soon as possible.

A first FAI Cup final appearance since 2002 was secured last week but the focus remains very much on league matters and bringing the League of Ireland trophy back to Oriel Park for the 11th time.

It’s a far cry from the manner in which the title was won twelve months ago. A final day shoot-out with Cork was a dramatic climax to a thrilling race but Towell admits the onus is still on the players.

“There’s less pressure but we still have to go out and get the result. Last year’s climax was unbelievable and was great for the league but we’ve more breathing room this season, thank god.”

The visitors, who are 15 points ahead of Rovers in third, will have to contend without a number of players. Both Georgie Poynton and Sean Maguire are on international duty with the Ireland U19s and U21s respectively while defender Sean Gannon misses out through injury.

Source: SSE Airtricity/YouTube

But such is the strength of their squad, Kenny has plenty of ammunition left in his armour. Towell has been chief destroyer this year and as the league’s top-scorer, you wouldn’t bet against the midfielder being the star of the show once again.

Victory in Tallaght would be a fitting end to another faultless campaign

“It will be nice no matter where we win it,” Towell adds. “We don’t care who we play, we know we’re the best team in the league.”

There can be little doubt about such an assessment but Dundalk can make it official once again this evening.

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About the author:

Ryan Bailey

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