Danny Morrissey 88' -
While some League of Ireland clubs are still in pre-season, Cork City will play their fourth competitive game of 2013 on Tuesday night when they entertain last year’s Setanta Sports Cup winners Crusaders in the first leg of this year’s quarter final. Kick off at Turner’s Cross is at 7:45pm.
Having emphatically marked their return to the competition with a 4-0 win against Crusaders’ rivals Cliftonville in the first leg at Turner’s Cross, the Rebel Army saw out the tie courtesy of a 2-2 draw last week in Solitude.
Many have been impressed with Cork City’s performances against the Danske Bank Premiership highflyers, but speaking to CorkCityFC.ie, City manager Tommy Dunne says he expects another tough test:
“Crusaders are in second place in the Irish League and they will be tough opposition. They are the holders of the competition and they are going very well again this season.
“I remember facing them on a number of occasions throughout my playing career, and they are a club with history and a good tradition.”
“They will be a tough, strong team, and they will have no fear at all coming down here. I would imagine they will be favourites over the two legs, considering they are the holders and the fact that they have the majority of their season behind them, so we know we are in for a good test.
“We are representing our league, as well as our city and our club, and I think it will be a game worth watching.”
The Leesiders have almost a full squad to choose from with although John Dunleavy is still ruled out following tonsillitis, and Brian Lenihan is continuing his recovery from a groin injury. Kalen Spillane also misses out through suspension following his sending off in the second leg against Cliftonville.
Last year’s champions Crusaders begin the defence of their Setanta Sports Cup crown tomorrow night as they make the long trek to Turner’s Cross. In doing so, they will be hoping to avoid a similar result to the one their neighbours and rivals Cliftonville suffered when they visited Leeside earlier this month.
Crusaders are currently in second place in the Danske Bank Premiership, 14 points behind Cliftonville (albeit with a game in hand). Last month they were beaten finalists in the Irn Bru League Cup final, again only to be bettered by Cliftonville.
The “Hatchetmen” will be without several key players for tomorrow night’s first leg, with as many as six first team players carrying over suspensions from last year. Amongst them are influential captain Colin Coates and their top scorer in the league this season – Timmy Adamson.
Stephen Baxter’s men could only manage a one all draw on Saturday in their league encounter with Dungannon Swifts and while that result saw them fall further behind Cliftonville in the race for the league title, a similar result tomorrow night would no doubt be better received and would give them a great chance of progressing to the semi final.
Referee: Alan Kelly
Cork City have won all of their last nine home ties against Northern Irish opposition in the Setanta Sports Cup.
While they won the Setanta Sports Cup last year, Crusaders could only manage to win two of their five games in 90 minutes.
Cork City striker Denis Behan is the joint all time top scorer in the Setanta Sports Cup with Peter Thompson. Both have scored 11 times since the tournament’s inception in 2005.
Cork City 10/11 Draw 9/4 Crusaders 11/4
Cork City 2 Crusaders 1
Cork City Injury News: John Dunleavy (tonsillitis), Brian Lenihan (groin).
Cork City Suspension News: Kalen Spillane
Crusaders Injury News: none available
Crusaders Suspension News: Colin Coates, Timmy Adamson, David Rainey, Chris Morrow, Stephen McBride, Declan Caddell