Thursday 19 September 2019

Dundalk's Shields will miss rest of season after horror challenge

David McAllister puts in a tackle of Chris Shields, resulting in a red card for the Shamrock Rovers player. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
David McAllister puts in a tackle of Chris Shields, resulting in a red card for the Shamrock Rovers player. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Dundalk boss Stephen Kenny believes Dave McAllister deserved a straight red for the challenge that has ended the season for Chris Shields.

McAllister received a second booking for a late challenge on Shields with eleven minutes to go of yesterday's FAI Cup semi-final replay at Oriel Park.

Replays showed that the Rovers midfielder's tackle was extremely high and the initial reaction was that his opponent was lucky to escape serious injury.

But he was unable to continue after trying to play on for a short time and it emerged afterwards that he has suffered knee damage that will end his campaign.

"It's a bad medial ligament injury - it was a really poor tackle," said Kenny, "I've seen it there again and it's a dreadful tackle that really deserved a straight red card.

"He'll be out for a few months. It was a very high challenge and it is very unfortunate for Chris."

McAllister did not protest at the decision and his boss Stephen Bradley admitted that Rovers have to address their discipline problems after picking up their ninth red card of the season - and their fourth in matches with Dundalk.

"It's a yellow card," he said. " But it's an area where we need to improve as we can't keep doing that in big games. We will get punished like we did in the League Cup final (when Aaron Bolger was dismissed) - we can't keep killing ourselves.

"I spoke to Davey, he said he did catch him, he got the ball and then caught him but I haven't seen it. At that point we were the ones playing with all the energy and tempo we were the ones on the front foot, looking to win the game. Keep him on the pitch and you don't know."

McAllister will be suspended for Tuesday week's replay and Rovers also have concerns over Trevor Clarke who hobbled off in the dying stages with an ankle issue. That could jeopardise his planned debut with the Ireland U-21s later this week after Clarke was named in the squad for their Tallaght double header with Norway and Azerbaijan.

Kenny has deeper problems in terms of injury issues with Dane Massey awaiting the results of a scan on a knee problem. John Mountney and Steven Kinsella are also on the sidelines.

"Obviously our squad is very stretched at the minute," said the Dubliner, who has two matches between now and the Rovers replay - a Leinster Senior Cup final with Shelbourne on Wednesday and a televised Premier Division encounter with Finn Harps next Saturday.

If Dundalk fail to win that game, then Cork City will be crowned champions without kicking a ball. With Cork needing just two points from their remaining four games, they are in a remarkably strong position and the percentage call is that Kenny will rest some legs for his side's trip to Donegal.

Yet he stressed that winning that game will still be a high priority - and the other sides battling with Harps to avoid the drop will be hoping that comes to pass.

"Obviously our squad is very stretched at the minute," said Kenny. "Conor Clifford is suspended for next Saturday. He is probably one who could have come in but he's suspended for next Saturday which is crazy. I don't know how he is suspended but he is suspended for five yellows. We've got to have a look at that.

"They (Cork) only have to win one game out of four. Every game we play we aspire to win but I'm not going to make unrealistic statements (about league aspirations). Every game that we play we'll certainly look to win. No doubt about that."

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