The fortunes of Cork’s soccer and Gaelic football fraternities could hardly be more different in recent weeks.
While Cork City sit top of the SSE Airtricity Premier Division going into this evening’s trip to Tallaght Stadium to face Shamrock Rovers (kick-off 5pm), Cork footballers are looking over their shoulders as they struggle to stay afloat in the Allianz League Two after being shocked by Clare.
Their form may be poles apart, but there’s a common enemy they both face, says Cork City boss John Caulfield.
“There’s always pressure,” says Caulfield. “In all sports in Cork, people here expect you to win. Anyone involved in sport here will tell you patience is less and less. People think you turn up, it’s an easy game... that goes for all sports, whether it’s soccer, football, or hurling. That’s not the way it works. If you look at our history, as I keep saying, in 32 years, we’ve won two leagues, two FAI Cups (before last season's cup success), but the expectation is huge.
“The pressure is from ourselves, too, because we want to win. We did well in Europe last year and we won the cup, and I believe that this team is even better than last year’s.”
City midfielder Greg Bolger is expected to miss out tonight, due to an ankle injury, but in-form striker Sean Maguire is fit after a recent hamstring strain, while John Kavanagh and Alan Bennett are available.
Rovers have two wins and two defeats from four games, but beat Galway 2-1 on Monday night, and Caulfield expects a huge test. “They’ve invested heavily, brought about 10 players in. They’re expecting they can challenge to win the league,” says Caulfield.
In this evening’s other Premier Division game, Bohemians host Galway United at Dalymount Park (7.45pm), with Gypsies manager Keith Long upbeat after back-to-back wins against Bray Wanderers and Limerick.
“We had a great week, with two big performances and, over the course of both games, the lads showed all of the qualities that we are going to need throughout this season,” says Long.
Ian Morris is a doubt for Bohs (ankle) while Galway travel to Dublin without the injured trio of Paul Sinnott (ankle), Padraic Cunningham (hamstring), and Gavan Holohan (hand).
In the First Division, Shelbourne host Waterford United (7.45pm) while Wexford host UCD (8pm).
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