This evening at Turner’s Cross (kick off 7.45pm), Cork play host to First Division strugglers Kilkenny City, knowing that victory is essential if, in the words of manager Damien Richardson, his side is to get “back on track”.
Said Richardson: “The importance of the cup is known and accepted by all. However the most important aspect of this game is that we get our season back on track. We have suffered two consecutive losses. I think this is the first time this has happened to me as Cork City manager, and it is not a feeling I like.”
With Roy O’ Donovan already making an impact with Sunderland, Cork could have done without striker Denis Behan missing this evening’s game with a hamstring problem. Influential midfielder Joe Gamble is also an injury worry although Richardson is hopeful he will feature.
Memories of cup campaigns past will also be jogged at the Carlisle Grounds where Bray Wanderers boss Eddie Gormley comes up against his old club St Patrick’s Athletic (kick off 7.45pm).
“I had great times there but I have a job to do with Bray Wanderers and if that means knocking Pats out of the cup, so be it,” says Gormley.
Pats, last year’s beaten finalists, are still looking to break a competition hoodoo which stretches back to 1961. Skipper Colm Foley admits the cup famine haunts the Inchicore club.
“As a Pats player you are made aware of the fact that the club hasn’t won the cup in a long time,” he says. “It means so much to the people of Inchicore. When we got to the final last year, the fact that we hadn’t won the cup in such a long time was sort of rammed down our throats. We’re a long way from the final but hopefully we can get one step closer with a win in Bray.”
Non-league Douglas Hall, having seen off Cobh Ramblers in fine style in the second round, travel to Jackman Park to take on another First Division club, Limerick 37 (kick off 7.45pm). The Cork side will be without Seamus O’Donnell, on duty with the Irish Universities side in Thailand, but captain David Moore is confident they can pull off another upset.
“We fancy our chances having beaten Cobh 4-1 in the last round,” he says. “We have seen Limerick play — when they were beaten in Cobh — and we think we can beat them.”
Limerick boss Paul McGee admits the hammering administered to Ramblers has made him sit up and take notice of Douglas Hall. “It certainly puts the fear factor into us and we won’t be taking anything for granted,” he says.
With more games to come over the weekend, this evening’s final Third Round tie pits Waterford United against Sligo Rovers at the RSC (TG4 7.30pm, kick off 7.45pm). Waterford boss Gareth Cronin will plan without the suspended David Warren and the cup-tied David Mulcahy. Shane Harte looks set to miss out with a groin strain.
By contrast, Sligo Rovers have a lengthy injury list with boss Paul Cook admitting: “We are struggling. We have a squad of 18 with two suspended — Conor O’Grady and Keith Foy — and another three or four injured. We’re down to the bare bones and might only have one on the bench.”
Says Blues boss Cronin: “Sligo are on a fantastic run but anyone can beat anyone in the cup.”