FAI Cup Third Round
Previews and team news by Emmet Malone
Mervue Utd v Dundalk
ON the face of it this has the potential to be one of the round’s shocks with a Mervue side containing a sprinkling of experienced former Galway United players having the potential to shock Dundalk.
As it happens, though, United are without most of the former Galway players due to injury or suspension and manager Johnny Glynn has been impressed by Dundalk.
“I went to see them play Rovers in Tallaght and when we left it was level and they were pushing for a winner so I was surprised afterwards to hear that they’d lost,” said Glynn.
“We’ll be looking to the younger players to come in and show what they can do,” he added.
The visitors, meanwhile, are close to full strength with Seán Connor having everyone bar the suspended Darren Mansaram to choose from.
Cork City v Sligo Rovers
PROBABLY the tie of the round in terms of the strength of the two teams involved and there should be a big crowd at Turner’s Cross as City look to score a repeat of last month’s league win over Paul Cooke’s side.
“Every game we play is important,” says Paul Doolin, “be it in the league or in the cup, and with a record of nine wins and three draws in our last 15 games, we are still in good form so we do not really want that interrupted.”
Doolin is without Joe Gamble and Stephen O’Donnell, both of whom are suspended while Robert Mezeckis and Davin O’Neill are injured.
Cooke, meanwhile, may have Alan Keane back from suspension – he faces a late fitness test – while Stephen Parkhouse is definitely out. Romauld Boco and Seán Doherty return from injury.
Bohemians v Mayfield United
THE SECOND round of the cup week always produces a lighter moment from a media point of view. Mayfield had sent a couple of players to Dalymount Park for interviews and when one journalist, by way of wrapping things up, suggested the player might find himself marking someone like former Cameroon international Joseph Ndo, the reply was prompt. “I don’t think so; I’m suspended!”
As it happens Ndo is injured too, while Jason McGuinness is still suspended, but Bohemians have a strong squad to choose from for the visit of the amateurs, even if manager Pat Fenlon remains cautious.
“This is a possible banana skin – it’s a game that needs to be won,” he said before suggesting that a reaction to last Friday’s defeat by St Patrick’s is expected.
Bray Wanderers v Bluebell United
EDDIE Gormley has had his problems with injuries this year but tonight only Chris Deans will be unavailable as Paddy Kavanagh returns from a hamstring injury.
Bluebell’s Liam Reilly, on the other hand, will be without his two junior internationals, centre forward Peter Sherlock and left winger Alan O’Duffy, who are prevented from playing because they will be on international duty this weekend.
“They’re our two top scorers and if we were going to grab something in this game, they’re the two lads you’d think might do it for us so it’s a bit annoying that they’re ruled out by a clash that everybody’s known was going happen for months.”
Bray could have agreed to move the game forward, but appear to have decided against any rash displays of generosity.
Derry City v Ballymun United
USUALLY the problem for non-league sides at this time of the year is a lack of competitive action but Ballymun boss Casey McQuillan has different troubles with various cup runs leaving his side with a backlog of games to get through.
“We’re playing three times a week at the minute, which means we haven’t had the chance to train for this game at all,” he says. “Obviously that’s a problem when you’re going into a game against a team that’s technically superior.”
The Irish Junior Cup winners have already travelled to the likes of Donegal, Limerick and Waterford and competition sponsors Ford are transporting 50 of their fans to the Brandywell.
City are without Liam Kearney, Barry Molloy, Thomas Stewart and Stephen Gray due to injuries.
Arklow Town v UCD
MATT Britton brings an Arklow side boasting a couple of former UCD players to Belfield without the services of a proper goalkeeper.
Britton’s brother Craig is suspended having been sent off in the last round while the club’s number two, Mervyn Travers, has turned his attention to Gaelic football. That means that striker Willie Doyle is set to start in goal although Britton insists that he has played there before and will do just fine.
Arklow have been back together for three weeks and Britton is hoping that experienced players like Stephen Hurley, Willie Tyrrell and player coach Graham Lawlor will enable his side to compete. Martin Russell, though, is taking anything for granted. “These teams are coming into the cup and want to stay in it. We have to treat Arklow with respect.”
Blarney United v Sporting Fingal
NON-LEAGUE teams have struggled to compete in this competition since the shift in season and the problem is highlighted perfectly in Blarney’s case. The team has been out of season for a few weeks and the wedding of a former player in Italy has deprived manager Finbarr Hogan of one of his current squad, Steve McCann.
The recession has prompted two others, Declan Cahill and Seán Grady, to emigrate, although Hogan is philosophical about the effects of the economic situation. “To be honest it’s as well things are bad because if we’d been able to afford the trip, there’d have been a lot more of us committed to going to Italy for the wedding.”
Still, the home side have five members of last year’s Premier Division Cobh Ramblers side.
Limerick 37 v St Patrick's Athletic
THE club’s financial situation is so perilous that this could be Limerick’s last cup game and the long list of players unavailable due to injuries or suspension is probably not uppermost in manager Pat Scully’s mind.
Brian Collopy, Paul Danaher, John Tierney and Tommy Barrett will watch from the, er, stand as Limerick attempt to spring a surprise on the Dubliners.
St Patrick’s Athletic boss Jeff Kenna said at the start of the season that the cup was an attainable target and so, given his team’s league form, he could do with a place in the next round. “We had a great win last Friday,” he said, “and the cup is high on our priorities this year but they’re at home and should have a good crowd behind them so we will be treating them with respect.”