Cork aiming to stick with winning formula in title showdown

City manager says league leaders will remain positive as they travel to face rivals Dundalk

There is always a suspicion when the Airtricity League fixtures come out that somebody up in Abbotstown has tried to set up a final night like tonight. If so, it would be interesting to know this time around whether they really thought Sligo Rovers against St Patrick's Athletic was the more likely title decider.

Or how confident they were that it would be Cork City rather than Shamrock Rovers that would be still in the mix at this late stage?

John Caulfield has gently chastising the Dublin media for failing to count his side amongst the likely title contenders. But not too many of even his local admirers can have been entirely convinced that he could take a team that finished sixth and 25 points behind St Patrick's Athletic a year ago to top spot with a game to play this time around.

Straight victories

After a run of six straight victories, though, and an unbeaten league run that extends back to the last meeting against tonight’s opponents on August 1st, City hit the road yesterday knowing that a draw will be enough at

Oriel Park

to deliver the club’s third title and complete a remarkable revival that started when the supporters finally took things into their own hands in mid 2010.

Much more recently Caulfield reckoned people were writing Cork off after that home defeat by Dundalk and the subsequent draws with Bray and Athlone. The collective character shown since had been tremendous, though and the manager insists his side will aim to have "a real cut off" Dundalk this evening.

“We’re in a great position and the mood in the squad is very positive,” he says.

“We’ve been written off a few times but we’ve got out and won games since then and we’re not going to stop trying to do that now.”

Stephen Kenny has no choice with Dundalk needing to win if they are not going to be remembered as a team that fluffed their title chance with last week's draws against Shamrock Rovers and, more pointedly, Bray Wanderers.

The game could well produce a few goals as these two sides haven’t failed to score at least one between them in a game since way back in 1995.

The home side will again be without David McMillan while Simon Kelly is a doubt and Stephen O'Donnell presents Kenny with something of a dilemma by continuing to edge his way back towards full fitness.

City, meanwhile, will give late tests to Ross Gaynor (ankle) and Gearóid Morrissey (knee) and Caulfield described both of them yesterday as "touch and go". Josh O'Shea, meanwhile, is expected to be available.

Own hands

Elsewhere UCD and Athlone will both try to scramble away from automatic relegation while Shelbourne and Galway meet again to decide who will face the team that pulls it off.

UCD still have their fate in their own hands although if they were to lose this evening then a draw would do their rivals against a Bray side that are safe last week’s surprise result against Dundalk.

Shelbourne have a lot to do in the second leg of the First Division play-off after losing 2-0 in Galway last weekend.

Their cause hasn't been helped by a training ground injury to Brian Gannon who should have been back from suspension but John Sullivan is available again.

Aaron McDonagh misses out and Richard Fahy returns for Tommy Dunne's side who are again due to be watched at Tolka Park by their number one fan and our number one citizen, President Michael D Higgins. No title deciding distraction for him, it seems.