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Monday 5 December 2016

FAI Cup latest test for a busy Dundalk

Robbie Benson's Dundalk are chasing glory on three fronts
Robbie Benson's Dundalk are chasing glory on three fronts

In-form Dundalk man Robbie Benson feels that the league champions can manage their schedule in the busy weeks ahead as they chase honours on three fronts.

The priorities of the league title race and the Europa League campaign, which starts in Holland next week, are shelved tonight as Dundalk continue the defence of the FAI Cup, away to a free-scoring UCD (Belfield Bowl, 7.45).

The form of Athlone lad Benson was recognised as he was named as August's Player of the Month by the SSE Airtricity Soccer Writers Association of Ireland.

He's back on familar ground tonight, back to his previous club UCD, another fixture for a busy Dundalk side to deal with.

VALUABLE

"We have to manage the run-in quite well," says Benson. "The manager has brought in two players, they'll be very valuable, the squad will be getting used over the next two and a half months.

"We're in a prime position at the top of the table and we want to stay there. We're in a cup quarter-final, we've those two, if you asked us at the start of the year, this is where we'd want to be and the Europa League is a bonus," added Benson, grateful to UCD for his education there but confident he did the right thing in leaving.

"The time was right to move, thankfully it's working out for me now."

UCD boss Collie O'Neill is all too aware of the size of the task ahead.

"Obviously drawing the league leaders is an extremely tough draw in anyone's eyes. However at this stage of the competition any draw is going to be tough and we have got to go into the game like any other and look to play our own game," says O'Neill.

"Dundalk have had a fantastic season so far, they are top of the league, and of course are into the group stages of the Europa League. However, Stephen Kenny will also be looking to be successful in this competition."

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