Dundalk midfielder Richie Towell believes it would be good for the League of Ireland if the Louth club progressed to the FAI Cup final at the Aviva Stadium.
Towell feels that Dundalk’s style of play would be suited to the biggest day of the domestic calendar, a game that is watched by a wider audience than an average league match.
But the Dubliner knows that the league leaders will face a serious test at Oriel Park tonight when they meet a resurgent Sligo Rovers in the quarter-finals, just six days after the Bit O’Red came away from the venue with a point.
“We want to be in the Aviva,” says Towell. “I think with the type of football we play. . . we’re a footballing side and I think we’re the best side in the league – nobody would doubt that.
“I think for us to get to the final and put on a good show would be great for the league.
“I went to the final two years ago, Drogheda and Sligo, but I didn’t go last year, I was too sick to go. But they’re always great occasions, the fans come out in their droves, it’s a great sporting event for the country and it’s something we want to be a part of.”
The defending league champions were given a hard time by Sligo last week, with Towell recognising that the visitors’ new boss Micky Adams has made them a tougher proposition. Rovers came from behind twice in a 2-2 draw to grab a valuable point in their battle against relegation.
“They have improved no end,” says Towell. “They have a lot of good players and when they gel and dig in for each other, as they did last week, then they’re a good side. They’re on a good run.”
Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny reckoned that his charges were in need of a little break as the eventful clash with Adams’ side was the third game in an eight-day spell that included gruelling battles with Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers.
Dundalk brushed aside Rovers after drawing with Bohs and Towell feels they are capable of following another draw with another win.
“We’ve had a hectic schedule, that was a tough week mentally and physically,” says the 24-year-old.
“We had a bad result against Bohs and bounced back against Rovers so if we can emulate that and go on to beat Sligo then it (last week’s match) will be forgotten.
“The main thing is we didn’t lose any ground in the league so that went in our favour.”
Elsewhere tonight, Cork travel to struggling Derry as they attempt to stay in a competition that represents their most realistic chance of silverware given that they’re eight points off Dundalk with six games to go in the league.
“We feel that if we play very well, we’ll go through,” says boss John Caulfield. “You can sense in training that the lads are hungry.
“It’s a different feeling to the league because you know that if you don’t perform on the night, you’re gone. In the cup, everyone is always dreaming and hoping they will get to the Aviva and that is natural but we don’t need to dream – we need to play well.
“We’ve gone to the Brandywell last season and this season and got good results.”
Killester United and Sheriff YC fly the flag for the non-league clubs – and for Dublin; they are in Bray and Longford respectively as they encounter Premier Division opposition for the first time in their run to this stage.
If either of them get past this hurdle, their profiles will soar.