Date: 8 p.m. Oct. 20, 2009
Venue: Tallaght Stadium
Att: 5,000 (est)
Unbeaten in their last 22 league matches, in a run that stretches back to May, this Rovers side are truly in championship form. In contrast Cork are in disarray, with the club on the brink of bankruptcy, players threatening not to train and the supporters regularly protesting against the club's owner, Tom Coughlan. The current situation could even see the players refusing to travel tomorrow, a regrettable state of affairs that will hopefully be avoided. Inevitably the team’s results have suffered with players not knowing if their next pay packets will arrive.
However, Hoops’ manager Michael O’Neill remains cautious ahead of the match. “It will be a tough game. The three games between us this season have all been drawn, and there’s been very little between the teams. We’d expect it to be a very competitive game.”
Indeed there have only been two goals scored in 270 minutes of action when the sides have met this season. With Rovers only two points ahead of Bohemians and with an inferior goal difference they will have to go for the win. O’Neill continued: “They’re the only team we haven’t beaten yet in the league so it would be nice to get the win against them this time around. That’s certainly the objective as far as we’re concerned.”
Having sat out the last two games Rovers will probably be without top scorer Gary Twigg. His season started out in August last year with Brechin City and not having a rest since has obviously caught up with the Scotsman. Although concerned, O’Neill knows that the situation is delicate and must be dealt with accordingly.
“We’re hopeful that he comes into contention, but we’re in a situation where we don’t need to take unnecessary risks with him just at the minute. We’re fairly confident that he will be available for next Friday’s game against Dundalk, so we’ll see how he is for Tuesday. But Graham Barrett, Dessie Baker and Padraig Amond are all contributing. They all look likely to score goals. It’s nice to have that competition amongst the strikers.”
Despite their recent troubles Cork are in third place in the league and will be desperate to hang on to a European place. They have been in poor form of late including last Friday’s disappointing 2-0 lost at home to Bohemians. It was a match in which Cork boss Paul Doolin feels his side did not do themselves justice.
“We could not have a lot of complaints on Friday to be honest," Doolin stated "Bohs’ were probably the first team that really dominated us in the way they did. I think we’re better than we showed on Friday night, we were well off the pace and Bohs’ were better than us, so we need to get back to basics and look to get a result tomorrow.”
Cork will be without the injured Dan Connor, Joe Gamble and Timmy Kelly while Danny Murphy returns from suspension.
With Bohemians looking to have the easier run in and only a two point advantage it is vital for Rovers that they keep winning. So far they have been up to the task but Cork will provide a test. This should be a close, tight encounter and could be decided by the odd goal. With Twigg’s influence marginalised, Rovers’ other strikers have stepped up to the plate and I predict this to continue.
Extratime.ie prediction: 1-0 to the home side.