McDonald targets top-three finish as he takes reins at Limerick
League leaders Cork City seek to extend unbeaten run to 14 as they host Drogheda
Cork City goalkeeper Mark McNulty: side who have yet to be beaten this season welcome Drogheda United to Turner’s Cross on Friday night. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
New Limerick manager Neil McDonald says that a third-place finish and European football for next season is “achievable” for the club who currently lie sixth in the Premier Division table on 17th points. Dundalk, this evening visitors to the Markets Field, currently occupy third spot, on 24 points with Bray on 25.
McDonald will be in the dugout for the game despite Willie Boland taking charge for the last time before reverting to his regular academy role.
“I’ll be on the touchline, not sitting in the stand,” says the 51-year-old, who is expected to bring over an assistant from England during the next week or so, “and we look forward to the game, trying to compete with the champions of last year”.
Stephen Kenny is without Steven Kinsella and, most likely, Brian Gartland for the game but Sean Gannon and Robbie Benson are firmly in contention after featuring over the past week while Chris Shields and Niclas Vemmelund are reckoned to be available despite knocks.
League leaders Cork City have Conor McCormack suspended and Gearóid Morrissey injured as they welcome Drogheda United to Turner’s Cross and look to maintain what is now merely a 13-match unbeaten start to the season.
United travel without Gareth McCaffrey, who left the club this week, while Thomas Byrne and Colm Deasy are injured but Gavin Brennan returns from suspension and Stephen Elliott is fit again.
Bray are without leading scorer Gary McCabe for the visit of Bohemians. The midfielder is suspended along with Mark Salmon while Darragh Noone is struggling with a thigh strain but Harry Kenny could have the likes of Hughie Douglas, Kevin Lynch and Conor Early back in the squad after they came through a training game without any problems.
Bohemians are still without long-term absentee Ismahil Akinade but are slightly better fixed up front after Dinny Corcoran got 90 minutes under his belt in the defeat by Shamrock Rovers.
“I’m shocked that we are ahead of them after 13 games,” says City boss Kenny Shiels. “They have a fantastic squad of players . . . we have a lot of young lads.”
Galway United will give Vinny Faherty and David Cawley late tests before the game against Finn Harps who should have Packie Mailey and Jonny Bonner back on the bench while St Patrick’s Athletic are again without Darren Dennehy for the visit of Sligo whose Daniel Kearns is out with a thigh strain.
Fixtures (7.45 unless stated)
Bray Wanderers v Bohemians
Cork City v Drogheda United
Derry City v Shamrock Rovers
Galway United v Finn Harps
Limerick v Dundalk
St Patrick’s Athletic v Sligo Rovers
UCD v Cobh Ramblers
Waterford v Longford
Wexford v Shelbourne (8.0)