Cup holders Cork wary of in-form Longford’s threat

Caulfield’s side aiming to maintain impressive recent record at City Calling Stadium

John Caulfield: “We’re one step away from a semi-final, but if we don’t play to our best, or we’re sloppy, like we were [last Friday], we won’t go through,” said the Cork City boss. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

John Caulfield: “We’re one step away from a semi-final, but if we don’t play to our best, or we’re sloppy, like we were [last Friday], we won’t go through,” said the Cork City boss. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

 

Though his team has eased to 4-1 victories there on their way to lifting the trophy in each of the last two seasons, Cork City manager John Caulfield is a trifle more wary of the challenge in-from Longford Town may pose to the FAI Cup holders at City Calling Stadium this evening.

While the double winners were chastened in losing this season’s unbeaten home league record to Sligo Rovers last week, Neale Fenn’s First Division play-off hopefuls enjoyed a fifth straight win courtesy of a hat-trick from Dylan McGlade as they saw off Cabinteely 4-1 to maintain their best run of the season.

“Their form would suggest that, if we don’t play at our best, we won’t go through,” warned Caulfield.

“We’re one step away from a semi-final, but, if we don’t play to our best, or we’re sloppy, like we were [last Friday], we won’t go through. That’s what we’ve spoken about this week.”

Cork are missing the injured Colm Horgan and Conor McCarthy while Johnny Dunleavy is a doubt.

Key defender Daniel O’Reilly is suspended for Longford who are also without the injured Sam Verdon, Dean Byrne and Jamie Hollywood.

As with Longford, First Division leaders UCD’s main target this year is on securing promotion as they look forward to testing themselves against Waterford at the UCD Bowl.

“Waterford is a free hit for us as we’re not expected to win,” said UCD midfielder Jason McClelland. “We can go into it under no pressure as our focus is elsewhere.”

With the exception of injured defender Darragh Corcoran, UCD are at full strength. Waterford’s Estonian midfielder Sander Puri is on international duty while striker Courtney Duffus may miss out due to illness.

Having lost to a late goal to Premier Division leaders Dundalk in their league clash last week, the display nonetheless gave Limerick captain Shane Duggan encouragement ahead of their rematch in the Blue Riband back at Markets Field tonight.

Big games

“Last week’s performance gives us belief,” said midfielder Duggan. “We saw what we could do when we performed like we did last Friday against Dundalk.

“We know that, once again, everybody has to be 100 percent at it and concentrate for the full 90 minutes.

“Hopefully, we’ll get the bit of luck needed too. I think in all big games, especially in a competition like the FAI Cup, you need that rub of the green along the way if you’re to get through to the final. We hope to have that on our side and get the win.”

Left-back Billy Dennehy should be fit following a chest infection to return for Limerick who wait on fellow defenders Kilian Cantwell and Shaun Kelly. Midfielder Eoin Wearen remains out with a knee injury.

Dundalk have defender Sean Hoare back from suspension, though manager Stephen Kenny is deprived of Jamie McGrath, who’s away with the Republic of Ireland U-21s in Kosovo, while respective leg and ankle injuries rule out Stephen O’Donnell and Karolis Chvedukas.

Tonight’s fixtures (7.45 unless stated)

FAI Cup (Quater-finals)

Limerick v Dundalk

Longford Town v Cork City (live on RTÉ2, 7.30)

UCD v Waterford

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