Cork City make their return to the Setanta Cup at Turner’s Cross this evening, with Danske Bank Premiership leaders Cliftonville travelling south, and the Leesiders’ new captain Kevin Murray insists the hosts will be not be holding anything back despite it being their first competitive outing of the year.
Cliftonville are 12 points clear in their own league and heading for an unprecedented four-trophy haul, but with four weeks to go until the Airtricity League kicks-off, Murray says Cork will be going full throttle for the win.
“From a League of Ireland point of view, it’s a great competition to have at this time of the year. It’s a proper competition and like any other, we won’t be holding back, we want to go out and win it,” he said.
“We’re anxious to win it and it’ll be good preparation by the time the league comes around. No matter what you might say, friendlies aren’t competitive, so to get these games under our belts before the league starts next month is great.”
Elsewhere, the new-look Shamrock Rovers will be expected to get a result against Coleraine at Tallaght. With Trevor Croly taking charge of the Hoops for the first time competitively and several new faces out to make an impression, they should have too much for Coleraine.
St Patrick’s Athletic entertain Glentoran in the live TV game, and Liam Buckley will be hoping his side can go all the way after ending 2012 on a disappointing note with defeat in the FAI Cup final, even if they have never beaten Glentoran in this tournament.
The final game sees Drogheda United pit their wits against Portadown, and after surprising everybody last season, the Louth outfit will look to pick up where they left off against a Ports outfit who currently lie seventh in their league, plagued by inconsistency.
Setanta Cup, first round, first legs (19.45 unless stated): Cork City v Cliftonville, Turner’s Cross; Shamrock Rovers v Coleraine, Tallaght; St Patrick’s Athletic v Glentoran, Richmond Park (19.30); Drogheda United v Portadown, Hunky Dorys Park.
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