Sunday 17 November 2019

Perth makes plea for respect in Linfield decider

'The tighter confines of Oriel present more of a challenge for the organisers this evening' (stock photo)
'The tighter confines of Oriel present more of a challenge for the organisers this evening' (stock photo)
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

It should be a spicy atmosphere at Oriel Park tonight for the Unite the Union Cup decider, but Dundalk boss Vinny Perth hopes the playlist will be different from Friday's drawn game in Windsor Park.

A minority of Linfield and Dundalk fans were responsible for sectarian-themed chanting during the 1-1 draw and Perth was disappointed with the vocal section of the away support.

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The tighter confines of Oriel present more of a challenge for the organisers this evening and Linfield fans are aggrieved with security arrangements which decree they must travel in a convoy of buses.

Perth wants football to be the focus and, while he stresses that there will always be an edge where there is rivalry, he felt some of the songs at Windsor crossed the line.

"I'm not happy about it," he said. "I grew up in the eighties and saw all the hassle and I thought we had moved beyond that."

His opposite number, David Healy, was on the same page. "I hope everything goes to plan on and off the pitch," said Healy, who had spoken beforehand about potentially resting players in the second leg with their domestic campaign in mind.

The language had changed afterwards, with the cup and the €50,000 prize still very much there for the taking. Dundalk are in a different place with a number of players due to go on their end-of-season holiday tomorrow.

Perth wants them to finish with a flourish, and feels both teams are capable of moving up a gear. He is a fan of the all-island league concept but acknowledges northern fears that a number of their clubs would be left behind.

However, he feels that Linfield would be capable of challenging for a title in what is now a hypothetical scenario.

Several Dundalk players are likely to move on after this fixture, with Robbie Benson bound for St Patrick's Athletic and Jamie McGrath considering a free transfer move across the water.

Full-backs Cameron Dummigan and Dean Jarvis were given an outing on Friday, but they are also due to depart, with first-choice options Seán Gannon and Dane Massey set to come in tonight.

Bohemians defender Darragh Leahy is on Perth's radar although there is no certainty that a move for the Irish U-21 international will happen.

The Gypsies have moved to strengthen in that area, with the capture of Longford's Anto Breslin set to be announced.

Dundalk v Linfield,
Live, RTÉ2, 7.05

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