O’Donnell says side faces tough challenge


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

O’Donnell says side faces tough challenge O’Donnell says side faces tough challenge

The hope for every club in a cup draw is a home tie, followed by being handed a winnable. Dundalk missed out on the first of those when the names were drawn from the hat for the quarter-finals of this year’s FAI Cup, and their manager knows his side will have to work hard to achieve the second of those goals this Friday.

A native of the city, Stephen O’Donnell captained United in his one and only season at the club, back in 2010, when they survived in the top-flight thanks to a play-off semi-final win over Bray Wanderers.

The Tribesmen are as good as set to return to the Premier Division next season, needing just four points from their last six games to clinch the title, and such has been their form this season, there are high hopes of extending their cup run after this weekend. O’Donnell knows his side are in for as test.

“It will be a really tough game. I was down in Galway over the weekend and there is a real buzz around the place about the team this season. Since the draw was made, I have been getting lots of messages about the game, there is a lot of anticipation out there.

“They have had a near flawless season, they have won every one of their home games. We are preparing for a really tough test – just look at the last round, they played a Premier Division side, UCD, and look what they did to them. It is going to be a really tough test, we are under no illusions about that,” he said.

O’Donnell played juvenile football with the now sadly defunct Newcastle United on the western banks of the Corrib, before joining Arsenal as a trainee in the summer of 2002 after completing his Junior Certificate exams at St Mary’s College.

He didn’t make a senior appearance for the Gunners, and joined Falkirk in Scotland two years later, where he made 46 appearances in two seasons. He returned to Ireland, joining Bohemians, and he also played for Cork City, Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk, as well as United.

He won the Premier Division and FAI Cup double with Bohs in 2008; and the Premier Division and Setanta Cup with Rovers in 2011; but he had his most successful stint at Dundalk where he made 110 appearances.

Pictured: Dundalk FC manager, Stephen O’Donnell.

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