Cork City -v- ShelbourneThu, Jul 26 2012
The formbook may tell you that Cork City are unbeaten since April but what it will also show is a far too high proportion of draws.
Five of City’s last six games have ended up as draws, while they’d be 11 points richer and in third position if they hadn’t thrown away so many leads this season.
But in a campaign where consolidation was the initial priority, they’ve been hard to beat while playing some very attractive football.
This game comes at the end of a hectic week – throwing away a two-goal lead against league leaders Sligo Rovers followed by friendlies on consecutive nights against Watford and Manchester United Reserves on Tuesday and Wednesday – but the good news for manager Tommy Dunne is that there are few injury worries.
Shane Duggan missed the friendlies because of illness but should be OK to play against Shels, while Gavin Kavanagh was withdrawn from the United game during the warm-up with a foot injury though that measure was more of a precaution than anything else.
Other than that City are at full strength and Dunne is in optimistic mood ahead of the meeting.
“It is a big game for us tomorrow night, and the way we set our teams out for the friendly fixtures reflected the importance of the fixture. While we are unbeaten in several games, we have picked up a lot of draws in recent games, and that is something we are working to improve upon. Things don’t happen overnight, you have to keep working and that is what we will continue to do.”
“We know how tough the game will be; we know Shelbourne will come down and will be looking to attack us from the first minute, so we need to make sure that we start well and give them the same back. Games between the two sides have generally been very close in recent seasons, and I have no doubt that this game will be no different.”
For Shels this may well be a revenge mission. Not only did Cork steal the First Division title from the north Dublin team in the 94th minute of the final game of last season, the Leesiders’ Vinny Sullivan also scored a late goal to defeat Alan Mathews’ men in Tolka Park.
In fifth place and with realistic hopes of finishing third place, a win would put Shels in a great position. However, they’ve lost four of the last six and will badly miss the services of Stephen Paisley, who is suspended following a sending off in last week’s game against Drogheda United.
Shels lost to high-flying Drogs with virtually the last kick of the game, as Gavin Brennan’s shot clipped the bottom of the far upright and ended in the net and it left Mathews unhappy.
He said: “Very disappointed that we lost the game. We didn’t play particularly well the first half, gave away another soft goal, worked very hard to get a good goal back and I felt we would have pushed on and maybe won the game.”
There have been improvements on the injury front since then and even though Paisley’s loss will be a blow, Ian Ryan and Glenn Cronin are fit to play in Turner’s Cross, while Barry Clancy is once again free from suspension.
Referee: Padraigh Sutton.
The last two meetings between these teams finished 2-1 to Cork, thanks to late goals in Tolka Park. The big one was the final match of last season, when Graham Cummins scored in the 94th minute to win the league for City and leave Shels in second place – though both were promoted.
Cork also came from behind in the most recent meeting on Leeside – David Cassidy scoring for Shels only to lose 4-1. It was the catalyst for a magnificent run for the home team which culminated in their last gasp win at Tolka.
City’s win over Shels earlier this year saw them claim their opening victory of the campaign after a torrid start to the year.
Cork City 6/5 ; Draw 9/4; Shelbourne 23/10.
Cork City 2-1 Shelbourne
Cork City Injury News: Shane Duggan, Gavin Kavanagh (doubts).
Cork City Suspension News: None.
Shelbourne Injury News: None.
Shelbourne Suspension News: Stephen Paisley.
Alan Smith has been writing for ExtraTime since 2008. He works as a full-time journalist based in Cork, working as a sub-editor for TCM and freelancing for a range of national titles. Follow him on twitter @alansmith90.