All roads lead to Turners Cross with Cork City hoping to make it four finals in a row with tonight’s Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup semi final replay against Bohemians (kick off 7:30pm, live on RTE 2).
Following a 1-1 draw in Dalymount last time around, City had to come from behind to force a replay when a controversial 85th minute penalty from Kieran Sadlier canceled out Dinny Corcoran’s strike. Having already booked their place at the Aviva Stadium, it’s winner takes all here at the Cross this evening, with Dundalk awaiting the winners after their 1-0 win over UCD last month.
In a cup run which has seen the Rebel Army overcome Home Farm, Maynooth University Town and Longford Town, tonight is the biggest challenge for the 2016 and 2017 winners, with City looking to qualify for their fourth consecutive final; a feat never managed by the club before.
Taking everything into account, City boss John Caulfield was raring to go going into tonight’s winner takes all tie,
“It’s back to our place tomorrow night, in front of a full house and we are looking forward to it. We know it is a very dangerous game and we will have to be at our best. In the last week, we have had two good performances and that helps to bring the confidence back.”
Having lost their league title to Dundalk last week, City are without a win in Turners Cross since the 7-0 rout of Maynooth University Town in the second round of the cup last July. Despite this poor run, Caulfield is determined to give the fans something to cheer about tonight.
“It’s a cup semi-final and the fact that we are at home, in front of our own fans, is good for us. What we must focus on is us giving the kind of performance that we have for most of the season. While we went through a rocky patch, in the last ten days we have got back to basics and we need a big performance tomorrow night”
In team news City will be without Steven Beattie, Colm Horgan and Johnny Dunleavy going into tonight’s tie, while there are also doubts over the availability of Karl Sheppard, Alan Bennett and Kieran Sadlier.
Having been denied the win two weeks ago with Kieran Sadlier’s late penalty, it all comes down to the Cross and the win tonight for Keith Long and the Gypsies, as they look to reach their first FAI Cup final since 2008.
In a run which has seen memorable wins against Wexford, Galway United and Derry City only the challenge of the reigning champions on home soil lies between Bohemians and the Aviva Stadium. But, with one win at the Cross since 2009 the challenge remains unchanged and unflinching for Keith Long and company.
“It’s a tough ask to go down to Turner’s Cross but we’ll have to do it the hard way. It’s a big game and the lads can’t wait for it. Cork might feel they’ve done the hard part by forcing the replay, but we see tonight’s game as a big opportunity for us”
Taking this into account, Long was more determined to make history at the Cross admitting that he was thriving under the cup run and wanting more big occasions for his side,
“We want big nights like last Sunday. We want big nights like that in Dalymount. We want to be involved in big games at the business end of the season. Tonight, is an opportunity for us to get to a cup final and it’s one that we hope to take.”
Bohs will be without suspended duo of Dan Casey and Dan Kelly while Ryan Swan and Ryan Masterson will remain out.
Referee: Neil Doyle.
Cork City’s last loss in the FAI Cup was a 1-0 extra time defeat in the 2015 final after Ritchie Towell’s 118th minute winner for Dundalk.
City and Bohs last FAI Cup clash was a 1-0 loss at Dalymount Park in 2014 after a 2-2 draw in Turners Cross. After a last minute equalizer from Dan Murray to force a replay, Dinny Corcoran’s first half goal separated the sides as Bohemians reached the third round.
This season, all Bohemians wins in the cup have come away from home (Wexford, Galway and Derry) with City having one cup win in 2017 with last August’s rout of Maynooth University at the Cross.
Cork City 8/13; Draw 12/5; Bohemians 7/2.
Cork City 2-1 Bohemians.
Injured: Steven Beattie, Colm Horgan, Johnny Dunleavy.
Doubtful: Kieran Sadlier, Karl Sheppard, Alan Bennett.
Injured: Ryan Swan, Ryan Masterson.
Suspended: Dan Casey and Dan Kelly.