Mulvenna blow for Dundalk
TIARNAN Mulvenna has emerged as a doubt for Dundalk's League of Ireland showdown with Shamrock Rovers on March 8th after pulling his hamstring in Friday's friendly against Finn Harps.
The striker came on as a 71st minute substitute and immediately made his mark by rattling the crossbar with a shot, but that was just the start of his bad luck as he limped off the Oriel Park pitch in his first game in a Lilywhites jersey since the summer of 2010.
The game ended in a 2-0 defeat for Dundalk and there was further disappointment for manager Stephen Kenny when the club's second friendly away to Dungannon Swifts, scheduled for this Tuesday night (12th), was postponed.
Trying to put a brave face on things on Tuesday afternoon, Kenny said: 'We have a training game today instead and that's fine because we have another game on Saturday against the McConville XI and I think we'll still be playing six matches before the league starts.
'We could have played a team that didn't pressurise us, but Peter [Hutton] had them well drilled and they chased and harried and that's exactly what we needed.
'We were having a look at players, and for 25 minutes in the first half we were very good and passed the ball well, but there were a couple of soft goals.
'Apart from that the only minus - which is a major one - is that Tiarnan pulled his hamstring which we could have done without.
'He had only come on, but he had warmed up properly and it was just one of those things. We will rest him completely and hope he will be available for the start of the league.'
Kenny is continuing to weigh up a few options in terms of signing players, with Vinny Faherty still on the radar despite not featuring against Finn Harps, and much-travelled winger Darren Meenan on trial after recovering from a shoulder operation.
'Darren is physically fit, but had not been allowed into contact until Friday because of the operation, so he hadn't trained and was rusty,' Kenny reported.
'I have alway brought in wingers, but top-class wide players are few and far between and the top ones have gone to the top clubs, so we might have to play without them because we've got a lot of very good midfield players. We'll pick systems that suit the players we have.'
The next friendly for the Lilywhites is Saturday's game against Tommy McConville's XI which comprises the top local players from the Meath & District and Dundalk Summer leagues. The match kicks off at 6pm and admission costs €5.
Kenny said: 'This should be a very good match and will give us another opportunity to gain match fitness ahead of the new season. It's a real community event, so I hope as many people come up and support the game as possible.'
Dundalk are trying to schedule their Leinster Senior Cup tie away to Sherrif for next mid-week, prior to facing Wexford Youths at Oriel on Friday 22nd, and that game will be followed by a match against the Northern Ireland junior international team at Dungannon on Tuesday 25th.