Cork City will hope to advance into the final of the Setanta Cup on Monday evening and thus banish any unpleasant memories of last Friday night, when they conceded a last minute equaliser at home to Shelbourne. To do this, they must first negotiate their way past Shamrock Rovers in the second leg of the semi-final at Turner’s Cross.
The sides played out a 1-1 draw when they met in Tallaght for the first leg last week, and therefore hold a slight advantage over their counterparts from the capital - if the Rebel Army can merely keep a clean sheet in the return leg, it would secure passage to the final.
Speaking ahead of the game, manager Tommy Dunne told CorkCityFC.ie how his charges were looking to put the disappointment of Friday behind them.
“We are looking forward to the game, and I suppose, after Friday night, it cannot come quick enough. We obviously have a slight advantage, in that we are the home team and we have the away goal, but we still know that it is a very tough game for us. We will be doing everything in our power to get into the final, but we need to make sure that we pick ourselves up after Friday night.”
Dunne will be unable to select midfield playmaker and former Irish international Colin Healy thanks to a suspension, along with long-term absentee Brian Lenihan and club captain Kevin Murray, who are both suffering from injury. The key trio of Daryl Horgan, Danny Murphy and John Dunleavy will all face late fitness tests.
New Shamrock Rovers manager Trevor Croly will hope to get his side into the first final of the season on Monday evening, and to do that they must first see off Cork City on their own turf.
The Hoops come into the game on the back of a disappointing 2-1 defeat in Derry, and will be looking to make amends as soon as possible. Rovers supremo Croly spoke about Turner’s Cross as a venue before the game, as well as analysing the weekend’s defeat.
"Turner's Cross is a great venue and as it's a semi-final we expect there to be a good crowd and good atmosphere. It should be a great occasion. It is a great chance to get into a final early in the season.”
"We were very disappointed with the result in Derry on Friday night. We played very well and certainly didn't deserve to lose, if anything we should have won. But we'll move on and hopefully get a better result on Monday."
Much has been made of their star-studded squad, but the Tallaght side will have to make do without some of their big summer signings – Jason McGuinness will definitely miss out through injury, while Mark Quigley is a doubt. Ken Oman is another absentee, while Derek Foran – who has already scored against City this season - could recover from his groin injury in time.
Referee: Padraig Sutton.
There is quite literally nothing to choose between the pair with regards to league form. Shamrock Rovers sit one place higher than their southern counterparts in seventh, but are just two points ahead, while Cork City have a game in hand.
Rovers have the third meanest defence in the whole division with just five goals conceded in eight games. They have also scored twice as many goals as the Pride of Leeside, hitting the net 14 times to Cork’s seven.
The clash will be the first time in the history of Cork football that two additional referees behind the goal will be used.
Cork City 12/5, Draw 11/5, Shamrock Rovers 11/10.
Cork City 2-1 Shamrock Rovers, AET. There will be a quintessential twist of irony, as a late goal actually goes to the benefit of the Rebel Army this season.
Injured: Brian Lenihan, Kevin Murray.
Doubtful: Daryl Horgan, Danny Murphy, John Dunleavy.
Suspended: Colin Healy.
Injured: Jason McGuinness, Ken Oman.
Doubtful: Mark Quigley, Derek Foran.