Wednesday 21 March 2018

Dundalk look for 48-hour extension to league season

Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

League of Ireland champions Dundalk are looking for this year's title race to be extended by 48 hours to allow them fulfil a hectic schedule brought about by their European commitments.

Stephen Kenny's side have to fit in a minimum of 16 games in all competitions between now and the end of October with progress in the FAI Cup and any replays in that tournament adding to that.

They start a busy period away to Bohemians tonight - a match that was brought forward from October when their scheduled clash with title rivals Cork was cancelled due to two members of the Leesiders' squad being involved in Ireland's U-21 squad.

Cork are also facing into a hectic period, but they do not have Europa League matches to work into the equation.

As it stands, Dundalk have five outstanding league matches to arrange and there are provisional plans in place for two of them.


But they believe that extending their season from Friday, October 28 to Sunday, October 30 would allow them to fit an extra midweek game into the final week.

With contracts around the country expiring after that weekend, the Louth club will find it hard to push for a longer window to finish their 33 games.

They have held preliminary discussions with the FAI this week and the final decision will have to come from Abbotstown.

St Patrick's Athletic manager Liam Buckley last week called for a longer season due to regular issues with fixture congestion and Dundalk are frustrated that this season's mid-term break was increased due to Euro 2016.

But the Lilywhites didn't play a league match between July 5 and August 5 so they could concentrate on European progression. As a consequence, the one-point leaders have to fit in 12 in September and October.

Dundalk's schedule

(Between now and end of league season - league games unless stated)

Fri, Sep 2: Bohemians (A)

Tues, Sep 6: Sligo Rovers (A)

Fri, Sep 9: UCD (A) - FAI Cup

Mon, Sep 12: Finn Harps (H)*

Thurs, Sep 15: AZ Alkmaar (A) - Europa League

Tues, Sep 20: St Pat's (A) **

Fri, Sep 23: Derry City (H)

Thurs, Sep 29: Maccabi Tel Aviv (H) - Europa League

Sat, Oct 1: Longford (A) ***

Fri, Oct 7: Sligo Rovers (H)

Fri, Oct 14: Shamrock Rovers (A)

Thurs, Oct 20: Zenit(H) - Europa League

Fri, Oct 28: Galway United (H)

* Provisional Date. Will not go ahead if FAI Cup tie with UCD goes to replay

** Provisional Date. Waiting on confirmation.

*** Game will be called off if Dundalk reach FAI Cup semi-final.

League Games To Be Arranged:

Cork City (H), Bohemians (H), Shamrock Rovers (H)

Irish Independent

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