Conan Byrne believes Cork can be beaten if St Pat’s produce

Dublin side need to prove they can excel against a top side to reach cup final

St Patrick’s Athletic midfielder Conan Byrne deperately wants to reach the FAI Cup final. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho.

St Patrick’s Athletic midfielder Conan Byrne deperately wants to reach the FAI Cup final. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho.

 

FAI CUP Semi-final

St Patrick’s Athletic v Cork City

Richmond Park, Sunday, 3.55pm

Live on RTÉ 2

There was supposed to be a little more by way of a title tilt but making it to another cup final would enable everyone at St Patrick’s Athletic to reflect a little more positively on a season the perception of which would be transformed if they actually went on to win another piece of silverware.

“The cup runs have sort of kept us going,” admits midfielder Conan Byrne “because our league form has been so erratic but there have been a few performances – the second half of the League Cup final down in Limerick, Dundalk in the league cup and away in Minsk – that show what we can do on our day.

“We lost a lot of good players, a couple of them to Cork and Liam (Buckley) has basically had to get a new spine into the team which takes times to do. Okay, it’s taking longer than we would have hoped but we definitely feel that we can beat anyone when we play well.

“We lost down there in the league to Cork and we didn’t play well but we won’t be in awe of them, that’s for sure. We won’t be looking back at that game. Some of the lads took a long time to settle into their roles in the team but we definitely feel that we have made progress and we’ll be up for this. It’s a cup semi-final and a game we desperately want to win.”

On the face of it, the 13 goals they have scored in the three games it took to get here is encouraging but against opposition of anything like Cork’s quality there is not too much to shout about, even recently, with the Dubliners having found the net just six times in their last 12 league games.

City, by contrast, have been pretty much scoring for fun of late with the 4-1 defeat of Longford Town two rounds ago in this competition kicking off a run of eight games in which they have found the net 27 times with young Sean Maguire generally leading the way.

It still hasn’t been enough for them to overhaul Dundalk at the top of the league table but Buckley’s men certainly have reason to be wary of a City side that will be anxious to give itself the insurance policy of a second successive cup final.

‘Never ideal’

John Caulfield

Caulfield will be without long-term injury absentees Alan Smith and John Dunleavy, as well as Dave Mulcahy, who is cup-tied.

Route to the semis: St Patrick’s Athletic: Beat Pike Rovers 8-0 at home, Limerick 2-0 at home and Cobh 3-1 at home. Cork City: Beat St Peter’s 4-0 at home, Longford Town 4-1 away and Shamrock rovers 5-0 away.

Meetings this season: Cork City 1, St Patrick’s 0.

Betting: Home: 5/1, Draw: 11/4, Away: 1/2.

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