Friday, 12th of March 2021
Shamrock Rovers vs Dundalk
Venue – Tallaght Stadium
Kick Off – 7.45 pm
Odds – Home Win 5/4 Away Win 19/10
Watch On – WatchLOI (Free)
Referee – Damien MacGraith
Since its inception in 2014, The President’s Cup has been the annual curtain raiser for the League of Ireland.
This year’s instalment will see 2020 Premier Division champions Shamrock Rovers face off against last seasons FAI Cup winners, Dundalk.
The 2021 President’s Cup will see the one-off match return after a one-year hiatus.
Last season both Rovers and Dundalk were due to meet with Dundalk as league winners and Rovers as FAI Cup holders.
However, the game never went ahead.
It was scheduled to take place on the 9th of February 2020 in Oriel Park. Unfortunately, it had to be postponed due to the arrival of Storm Ciara at the time. Of course, Covid-19 ensured the game wouldn’t go ahead at all.
This is Dundalk’s seventh President’s Cup appearance in a row, with the Lilywhites winning the trophy twice in the past.
They’ll face a Shamrock Rovers side coming fresh off their unbeaten league winning campaign in 2020.
Shamrock Rovers vs Dundalk
As we know by now, the champs will have to do without the services of Jack Byrne and Aaron McEneff this season. It will be vital for the likes of Dan Mandroiu to really step up and try to replace these lads.
New signees in Sean Gannon and Sean Hoare will come up against their former teammates for the first time since moving to Tallaght in the off-season.
Dundalk took a different approach in the off-season when bringing in players.
The Louth side recruited most of their new talent from outside of the league. A tactic that many believe will push them further in domestic and European competitions.
It’s still somewhat risky business. The track record of players coming in from abroad is patchy at best. Plus, all these incoming players will have to gel and settle in Ireland quickly for Dundalk to challenge for the title in 2021.
While the President’s Cup is technically a friendly game, it will still bring plenty of intrigue.
It’s hard to truly judge the prospects of a team during the string of pre-season matches. A game like this will be played at a much higher tempo and will involve strong starting teams.
Dundalk fans will especially be keeping a keen eye on this one.
Filippo Giovagnoli and Shane Keegan were experimental with their team shape and formation during the break. This game will be a good guide on how their side may line up this season.
Words From Our President
He has been present at every one of these games since the inaugural encounter between St. Patrick’s Athletic and Sligo Rovers in 2014.
President Higgins is also an active Galway United supporter and like us all, can’t have access to League of Ireland grounds.
However, he will be watching from Aras an Uachtarain on Friday from his WatchLOI account.
Speaking about the match Michael D. Higgins said, “May I wish Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk FC every success, as they compete for this year’s President’s Cup.”
He followed up with, “I thank all the supporters who have continued to generously encourage and applaud their teams virtually, as they wait patiently for the day they can once more do so in person.”
The President went on to commend everyone involved with the league for their commitment during these difficult times.
Sadly, it’s another game that must be played behind closed doors.
Not to worry, two of Ireland’s elite sides tend to make magic when they come together.
Can Shamrock Rovers avenge their 4-2 FAI Cup final defeat?
We’ll have to keep our eyes glued to WatchLOI on Friday to find out.
Our Prediction – Dundalk via penalties.