FAI Cup quarter-finals
A look ahead to tonight's FAI cup matches
Bohemians v Dundalk
Bohemians go into this game on a bit of a high after beating bitter rivals Shamrock Rovers to deepen the sense of disappointment around Tallaght. But that was their first league win in seven games and a place in the semi-finals of this competition would be pretty welcome
Dundalk, meanwhile, haven’t won in the league since May but that, to be fair, was in Dublin, at Richmond Park. Their cup wins since have both come against non-league opposition and while Darius Kerins has been doing his best to keep spirits up there is a growing sense that the club is heading for the play-offs.
Ryan McEvoy could return for the hosts but Owen Heary looks to be out again with a back problem picked up in the last round.
Dundalk have John Mountenay and Mark O’Brien back from suspension, Eoghan Osbourne is an injury doubt, Stephen Maher and Paul Whelan are cup-tied and Liam Burns should start despite a throat injury.
St Patricks A v Drogheda U
Liam Buckley is probably more aware than most of his players of the home club’s remarkable five-decade long run without a cup success but, he insists, he is not concerned by it.
“Somebody has got to win it,” he says. “It’s like with Sporting Fingal a couple of years ago. The weight of history doesn’t bother us; all that matters is that we play Drogheda and we need to beat them. We’re two games away from a final in the Aviva and motivation won’t be an issue.”
Drogheda might be, he acknowledges, given that they won 2-0 in the league on their last visit to Inchicore but Mick Cooke must again cope without the Monaghan United players brought in to bolster the squad. Despite Monaghan United’s results being expunged, their former players are still considered cup-tied.
Jake Kelly should be back for the hosts, John Russell faces a fitness test and Stephen O’Flynn could be fit enough to make the bench while Cooke, the Monaghan four aside, has a full squad to choose from.
Shelbourne v Shamrock Rovers
Having contributed to the current turn of events at Rovers by drawing with them last Friday, Shelbourne must wait to see how the upheaval has affected their rivals on the pitch this evening with Kevin Dawson admitting that it could go either way.
“Sometimes it works in your favour,” says the midfielder, “but it could galvanise them. We will take them as they come and hopefully we can get the right result”.
A great deal will depend on whether caretaker boss Stephen Glass can lift the team which, needless to say, he hopes he can: “There’s some fine-tuning needed maybe and two or three things where I think we can have a bit of success, we’ve worked on them today.
“We’ve been doing things a little bit different to what they have been doing because if you keep doing the same things, you keep getting the same results.”
Graham Gartland is still out for Rovers. Paddy Kavanagh and Glenn Cronin return for the home side.
Derry C v Mervue Utd
The Northerners finally looked to be turning a bit of a corner a couple of weeks back when the draw was made, and there was some optimism expressed that it just might be their year in the cup. Since then, however, things have gone poorly again with three successive defeats leaving Declan Devine’s side to drift through the last few weeks of the league campaign.
Mervue, though, still look beatable and could offer the City boss a way to get his side fired up again.
Rory Patterson and Owen Morrison are still injured while Ruaidhrí O’Connor and Stephen McLaughlin are major doubts and Stewart Greacen is suspended.
The visitors, though, will travel in the belief that they have nothing to lose and after the way they beat Waterford United, Devine admits that, whatever else happens, he won’t be underestimating them. Midfielder Gary Kelly is suspended while left back Marc Ludden is away for work.
– EMMET MALONE