Apart from Aidan Lynch and Ian Maher, manager Mick Cooke has a full squad to choose from as the promotion challengers look to make the most of an historic opportunity for the club.
“This is the first national semi-final the club has ever been in so it’s a huge game for us, but having come this far you want to make sure you get to the final,” says captain Don Tierney. “We’re in the EA Sports Cup semi-final and we’re in the play-off positions in the league, so it’s been a good season so far.”
Dundalk travel to Gortakeegan looking for their first win at the venue in over four years but striker Fahrudin Kuduzovic says that the League Cup comes as a welcome escape from the league for his side.
“We can look forward to Monaghan,” says Kuduzovic. “I think because it’s a cup game you can relax a little bit and not worry about picking up points. We’re not going to make Monaghan the underdogs; they have been going very well in the First Division so we’re wary of that. They’re a good team. We’re going to give them the respect that they deserve, but we’re going to go out and do a job. It’s a good chance to get a trophy.”
The other semi-final is a battle of the Rovers, with league leaders Shamrock Rovers travelling to the Showgrounds to take on in-form Sligo (kick-off 8pm).
Says home captain Danny Ventre: “We had a good chance to get silverware last season in the FAI Ford Cup but that didn’t work out for us, so this season the EA Sports Cup gives us a great opportunity to bring a trophy back to The Showgrounds. Obviously we’ll have to get past the challenge of Shamrock Rovers first. It will be a tough game but if we get a result tonight then we’ll only be 90 minutes away from a trophy. I’ve been here three years and last season was the closest we’ve come to getting a trophy. Getting to a final spurs you on – once you get one you want to keep going and get to another final.”
Meanwhile, cash-strapped Bohemians will be hoping to use their game in hand to maximum effect when they host Bray Wanderers at Dalymount Park in the Airticity League Premier Division this evening (kick-off 7.45pm).
Smarting from defeat by Galway, Bohs’ increasingly slippery grasp of their title could come under unexpected pressure from a Bray side who picked up a rare three points at the expense of St Pat’s in their last outing.
Better news for Pats is that their midfielder Dave Mulcahy has been named Airtricity/Soccer Writers Association of Ireland Player of the Month for July. Mulcahy scored four times in July to help keep his side’s title challenge in fine fettle before going on to net a superb goal for the league selection against Manchester United in the first football match at Aviva Stadium.