Struggling UCD travel down to the Rebel County on Friday to face a buoyant Cork City side at Turner’s Cross. (Kick-off 7:45 pm)
Following the departure of John Caulfield last week, Cork appointed his assistant John Cotter as Interim Head Coach.
The Cork native was only in charge a few days before his side’s trip to Bohemians last Friday night. He oversaw his men brilliantly win by a goal to nil courtesy of a Conor McCarthy header after twenty minutes.
City showed a lot of guts and great character to hold on for the win, something to which Cotter was delighted with in his post-match interview. It was a win that the club will hope will kick-start their season.
“The players dug that out... an unbelievable three points to be honest. I thought we had a good shape, and we limited Bohs to very few chances. It wasn't pretty, and we know that.
Speaking ahead of the game with the side directly below them in the table, Cotter told his club’s official website that he is very wary of the threat posed by the away side and they are a side that should be respected.
“We need to build on last Friday night. UCD is another tough game, we’ve done our homework, and we know what way we want to play against them. We’re under no illusions, it’s another tough game and we need to be at our best to come away with the three points again.
“They beat us a few weeks ago up there, so we’ll be looking to go out and play well, to put our stamp on the game and get the three points. We’ll give them the respect that they deserve. When you start underestimating people, that creeps into players and that’s when you drop points.”
In team news, Shane Griffin is suspended, while Cotter confirmed that he is facing a number of injury concerns ahead of the game.
“Karl Sheppard has an ongoing thing, he’s carrying a knock. Gearoid Morrissey is 50/50, Graham Cummins is carrying a knock as well, Darragh Crowley too. At this stage of the season we’ve had a heavy schedule, normally when you come out of these schedules you’ll always have a few knocks.”
It is fair to say that UCD are seriously struggling for form at the moment.
They’ve lost their last five games on the trot, and only scored once in that run. Coincidently, the last game they won was against Cork at the UCD Bowl back on April 15th.
In that spell, the Dubliners tasted defeat to Bohemians, Dundalk, St Patrick’s Athletic, Sligo Rovers and last week, away at Finn Harps.
Harps’ Caolan McAleer netted a brace either side of half-time, and Nathan Boyle got one a minute into the second half in the 3-0 defeat of the Students. The defeat kept Collie O’Neill’s men in the relegation play-off spot on ten points, but Harps are now not too far behind on seven.
All three of the club’s above UCD in the table won over the weekend, so the gap to eighth place is now six points. Cork are directly above the College in the table, so no doubt O’Neill and co will aim for a positive result on Friday.
Fans have seen nice attractive football being played by the club and at intervals an individual can conjure up some magic at any moment, but players like captain Gary O’Neill, Yoyo Mahdy and Neil Farrugia really need to start producing good performances on a consistent basis if their club want to avoid a relegation scrap.
There is no better place for that aforementioned trio, and others in the squad, to showcase their talent than at Turner’s Cross.
They’ve beaten Friday night’s opponents already of course, so will no doubt be motivated to do the double over the 2017 League champions.
Not only is a positive result important for their position and recent form, it would be even better for squad morale, which has most likely taken a big hit over the last few weeks.
Referee: Tomas Connolly.
Both sides have met 22 times in competitive fashion. Cork have won 15 of those, UCD have won just 4. There has been three stalemates, with an average of 3 goals per game being played out in those games.
From the first game between the pair on April 15, UCD staged a late fight-back by winning by two goals to one at the UCD Bowl. Cork’s Sean McLoughlin gave his side a half-time lead, before Yoyo Mahdy and Gary O’Neill both netted with five minutes to go, the latter scoring a 90th minute penalty.
Daire O’Connor made the move from UCD to Cork during the off season. He spent four years at the Dublin club.
Cork have scored just scored 13 goals this season, and have conceded 19.UCD have also scored just 13, but have conceded ten more than Friday night’s opponents.
UCD have yet to pick up a win against Cork at Turner’s Cross. The best they’ve done was draw 0-0 there in 2005.
Cork City 2/5; Draw 10/3; UCD 11/2..
Cork City 2-1 UCD.
Doubtful: Karl Sheppard, Gearoid Morrissey, Darragh Crowley, Graham Cummins.
Suspended: Shane Griffin.
Injured: Evan Osam (Achilles).