Arsenal v Dundalk: the first ever meeting with a side from Ireland

by Bulldog Drummond

The League of Ireland is a summer league, but this season, just half a dozen games in, the season was stopped due to the virus.   It only resumed on 31 July.  In the early games after the re-start, Dundalk, whom we play tonight, had three defeats and two draws, including getting themselves knocked out of the Champions League at the first time of asking being beaten by NK Celje of Slovenia.  Since then results have been mixed – a run of three wins and two draws being followed by two defeats, one in the league one in the Europa.

The early Europa games were qualifying rounds.  Inter Club play in Andorra, and FC Shefiff are from Moldova.

Competition Date Home Score Away
League of Ireland 31 Jul 2020 Dundalk 1 – 1 St Patrick’s
League of Ireland 07 Aug 2020 Bohemians D. 2 – 1 Dundalk
League of Ireland 14 Aug 2020 Dundalk 2 – 2 Waterford
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE 19 Aug 2020 NK Celje 3 – 0 Dundalk
League of Ireland 22 Aug 2020 Sligo Rovers 3 – 1 Dundalk
League of Ireland 11 Sep 2020 Dundalk 3 – 2 Shelbourne
EUROPA LEAGUE 17 Sep 2020 Inter Club D’Escaldes 0 – 1 Dundalk
EUROPA LEAGUE 24 Sep 2020 FC Sheriff 1 – 1 Dundalk
League of Ireland 27 Sep 2020 Dundalk 0 – 4 Shamrock R
EUROPA LEAGUE 01 Oct 2020 Dundalk 3 – 1 Ki Klaksvik
League of Ireland 04 Oct 2020 Dundalk 0 – 0 Finn Harps
League of Ireland 13 Oct 2020 Cork City 0 – 2 Dundalk
League of Ireland 16 Oct 2020 Dundalk 0 – 0 Bohemians D.
League of Ireland 19 Oct 2020 Derry City 1 – 2 Dundalk
EUROPA LEAGUE 22 Oct 2020 Dundalk 1 – 2 Molde
League of Ireland 25 Oct 2020 Waterford 1 – 0 Dundalk

Dundalk as you can see play in the League of Ireland, also known as the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division.  This is the top league of what British people call the “Republic of Ireland” but which is actually the league of the country whose constitution states that “the name of the State is Éire, or, in the English language, Ireland”.

The stadium holds just 4500 people but lest we think that we are playing one of the smaller Irish clubs here is a list of all the main Irish clubs…

Team Region Stadium Capacity
Bohemians Phibsborough Dalymount Park 3,400
Cork City Cork Turners Cross 6,900
Derry City Derry Brandywell 3,700
Dundalk Dundalk Oriel Park 4,500
Finn Harps Ballybofey Finn Park 4,500
St Patrick’s Athletic Inchicore Richmond Park 5,350
Shamrock Rovers Tallaght Tallaght Stadium 8,000
Shelbourne Drumcondra Tolka Park 3,600
Sligo Rovers Sligo The Showgrounds 4,000
Waterford Waterford RSC 5,500

Dundalk have won the Irish League eight times, which is more times than any other club since the inauguration of the Premier Division of the league in 1985/6 the move to the summer league coming in 2002.  Since then Dundalk have won the league four times, in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019.  Shamrock Rovers won the league in 2020.

However this season Dundalk are struggling, at least by their recent standards…

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Shamrock Rovers 14 12 2 0 38 7 31 38
2 Bohemians 17 11 1 5 21 11 10 34
3 Dundalk 16 7 4 5 24 20 4 25
4 Waterford 17 7 3 7 17 21 -4 24
5 Sligo 17 7 1 9 17 23 -6 22
6 Derry City 16 5 4 7 17 15 2 19
7 St Patricks 14 5 4 5 10 11 -1 19
8 Shelbourne 17 5 4 8 13 20 -7 19
9 Finn Harps 15 3 5 7 11 20 -9 14
10 Cork City 17 2 4 11 9 29 -20 10

This is Arsenal’s first-ever competitive game against any League of Ireland side and Dundalk have been making all the right noises about saying how excited they are to be playing Arsenal, with comments about it being the game everyone is talking about.  It’s a good job they don’t know what the Arsenal blogs and newspapers are saying about Arsenal and their form at the moment.

Indeed on their website is the statement that,

“Arsenal are going well at the moment and we know what’s ahead of us. We’ll be as prepared as we can and hopefully, it’s an enjoyable experience.  They’re a top-quality side and they have players all over the park that can hurt you so it’s up to us as a team to put a game plan in place on Thursday night.

“Whatever team they pick will be a team full of internationals. When you can leave the likes of Mezut Ozil out of your 25-man squad you’re doing okay!

“It’s going to be a tough ask but it’s one we have to embrace it as a group and it’s part of the prize of getting to the group stages which is what we strive to do every year. It’s a game to enjoy.”

For anyone who likes to donate money to bookies Dundalk are 40/1 outsiders to pull off the win.   On the eve of the game their club captain said, “We’re very big odds with the bookmakers but I think we can give a good account of ourselves.  Training at the Emirates tonight will give the lads a bit of a buzz and if we can do it tomorrow night, it would probably top 2020 off!”

More on this game shortly…

One Reply to “Arsenal v Dundalk: the first ever meeting with a side from Ireland”

  1. weplayed glentoran of the irish league the year we won the old fairs cup we won 3 0and lost the 2nd leg1 0

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